Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 to a Xhosa Thembu Royal Family. At birth, he was named Rolihlahla, which means “pulling the branch of a tree”. It could also be translated as a positively disruptive thinker or a troublemaker. He was also named Madiba which in the Xhosa language means “Father of the Nation”. He further acquired the name ‘Nelson’ from his Methodist church teacher at the age of seven.
Mandela joined the University College of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape Province, to study law, where he was recognised for being outspoken and standing up for justice. These traits got him suspended for his activities in the Student Representative Council. He eventually moved to Johannesburg in 1941, where he met Walter Sisulu and other members of the African National Congress (ANC). Mandela joined the ANC in 1944 while completing his law degree at the University of Witwatersrand. Once again, his outspoken nature distinguished him as the only black law student amongst his peers with a strong political will. The young Mandela grew to become very instrumental in the anti-Apartheid protests after the introduction of the discriminatory policies in 1948.
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