Nelson Mandela needs no introduction to anyone in the world. The man, in his lifelong struggle for equality, freedom, and an apartheid free South Africa has become famous all over the world. Well, on his 96thBirthday, here are eight interesting facts about the great leader that you might not have known:-
- Nelson Mandela was actually a descendant of a royal bloodline. Yes, although he struggled for the poor and downtrodden throughout his life, he was actually born to the Thembu Family, a royal family of South Africa.
- When Mandela was returning from college, a marriage was arranged for him. He fled the marriage, however, and went on to marry three more times, fathering six children.
- After the African National Congress (ANC) was banned, Mandela went underground, in 1961, and co-founded the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), along with Communist leader Joe Slovo and Sisulu. The MK was the military wing of the ANC. Military training was arranged for the members of the MK in Algeria. On his return, however, Mandela was charged with attempt to overthrow the government, and was arrested. He was then imprisoned till 1990.
- The apartheid government had actually offered Mandela to be released. He refused, however, protesting the ban on the ANC.
"I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom," he said, in relation to his decision to remain imprisoned.
- In 2007, Mandela founded a group of world leaders. He named this group, 'The Elders'. The group consisted of leaders like Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Li Zhaoxing, Muhammad Yunus, and many other inspirational leaders. This group tried to work towards the betterment of the world by working on different issues.
- In 1962, he received guerrilla training in Algeria and Ethiopia. The circumstances around his arrest seems to be a bit suspicious, however, he got caught in a police roadblock. Conspiracy theorists say that the police were tipped off by a CIA agent.
- Mandela has been garlanded with numerous awards. Here are some of the lesser known ones – Honorary member of Manchester United Football Club, Honorary member of the British Labor Party, and an Honorary citizen of Canada.
- Also, there is an orchid (Paravanda Nelson Mandela), a prehistoric bird (Australopicus nelsonmandelai) and a particle of the nucleus (Mandela particle) named after him.