Friday, july 18th next is Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday.
In UNICEF Ireland, we’re celebrating his birthday by inviting everyone to send him a birthday card. We’re very grateful to the Sunday Times newspaper which next Sunday (6th) will be including a birthday postcard, which you can then use to fill out with a greeting, and post in to us. There are also a number of volunteers and retail outlets around
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has been a partner in the “Schools For Africa” campaign with UNICEF and the German philanthropist Peter Kramer, via his Hamburg Society for the Promotion of Democracy and International Law. Schools for Africa is catalyzing basic education across
I remember when I was a student studying in
In 1958, the ruling National Party in
Mandela was found guilty the following November of two charges, of inciting workers to illegally strike, and of leaving the country without valid documentation. He was subsequently charged in October 1963 under the Sabotage Act, which carried the death penalty. He conducted his own defence, and gave a lengthy, impassioned and widely reported speech to mitigate his sentence: he was sentenced to life imprisonment on the 12th June 1964.
In March 1980. the
Six weeks later, PW Botha resigned after friction with his cabinet colleagues. His successor, FW de Klerk, under pressure from international governments, but also calculating that the ANC was poorly organized and that he could form a winning alliance with conservative black organizations, lifted the ban on the ANC in February 1990, and released Mandela from prison on the 11th of that month.
In April 1994, during the first national, and fully democratic, elections, the ANC won a national majority and Mandela became president. However a year earlier, the grand-daughter-in-law of the instigator of apartheid Hendrik Verwoerd (remember him from above?..), Melanie Verwoerd, had been invited by Nelson Mandela to stand as a candidate in the first democratic elections in
Melanie today is the Executive Director of UNICEF here in
So, in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, and due to Melanie’s initiative in celebrating the event, please fill out and post the birthday postcard, either physically via next Sunday’s Sunday Times, or virtually on the web.