Nelson Mandela’s life as a student

Mandela Day is celebrated each year on 18th July, the birthday of Nelson Rohlihlahla Mandela. The Biography on Mandela is very rich and is a deep insight into his personality and political struggle. We are presenting a brief overview of the student life of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela as a junior student

In 1925, Nelson Mandela attended a single room primary school in Qunu. He received the name “Nelson” from his teacher.

When Nelson was 16, he went to the Xhosa initiation school, a tradition school which teaches young males the responsibilities of manhood.

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Nelson Mandela as an elementary student

In 1934-36 he attended the Clarkbury elementary school. Mandela remembered the strict and obedient character of the school. He left the school for a bigger institution away in Healdtown where he was taught a more Euro centric curriculum focused on the British history. He took boxing and long running activities at the school.

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Nelson Mandela as a college student

In 1935 Mandela enrolled at the South African Native College, Fort Hare. He remember himself being a nice gentleman and very popular among the female crowd. He was elected Student Representative Council (SRC) but later resigned due to the intense protest of students over the boarding house food and a very low turnout in SRC polls. He was forced by the college authorities to keep the seat but he refused since it was against his personal principles.

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Nelson Mandela’s student life at the university

In 1943 Mandela left for Johannesburg where he completed his bachelors in arts degree through local correspondence and later got enrolled at University of the Witwatersrand to get a LLB degree from the Law faculty. He was the only African student at the university and during his studies he experienced extreme acts of racism and discrimination. He was not allowed to use the sport fields, pool, cafeteria or residence. After spending six years at the university he couldn’t complete his degree due to the grim circumstances.

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After this Mandela indulged in politics which led to the great struggle during which he was imprisoned for 27 years. After his release, Mandela was showered by awards, recognitions, honorary degrees and doctorates from universities and institutions around the world.

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1991 – Honorary LL.D Degree conferred, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the same university from which he couldn’t complete his LLB degree and was subjected to discrimination back in 1943.

1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel peace prize.

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