STORY BY BRIANA WALKER, FNN REPORTER, ANACOSTIA BUREAU
FNN CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY: FEB. 20, 2014. Nelson Mandela changed lives for black people in Africa. He fought for South Africa’s freedom from Dutch settlers. Mandela also risked his life participating in non-violent campaigns to get rid of the apartheid in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, Transkei. In the early1900s, black South Africans were mistreated by whites because of their skin color. In order for whites to keep the black society of South Africa oppressed, they made apartheid laws which denied blacks basic rights. According to History.com, Nelson Mandela participated in non-violent campaigns such as the African National Congress to end apartheid.
For Mandela’s efforts to get rid of apartheid he received a 27-year sentence in prison. After he was released from prison he became President. Mandela established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate human rights violations committed by the supporters and members of apartheid 1960-1994. Mandela finally ended racial discrimination in South Africa and the apartheid laws were banned.
Mandela founded lots of social and economic programs to help better the living conditions for blacks in South Africa. According to ibtimes.com, Mandela formed alliances with trade unions which led to lower unemployment rates. Mandela also worked with the unions to get rid of a lot of the racial discrimination in the work force so there would be more employment opportunities for those who were rejected during the apartheid era.
Nelson Mandela succeeded in getting mistreated black South Africans to forgive so that Africa wouldn’t go into complete chaos. According tonelsonmandela.org, Mandela did not want the ending of the apartheid to lead to blacks in South Africa getting their revenge on whites who suppressed for so long. Mandela wanted everyone to have equal rights. He didn’t want blacks to oppress whites the same way that whites oppressed blacks. Mandela wanted peace instead of vengeance because he knew that was the only way South Africa would grow as a nation.
Nelson Mandela has heavily influenced my outlook on what I could do for the black community and every other community in the world. Mandela preached not only equality for blacks, but also equality for all. He made a change. I feel that I can too. I feel that there is a lot of racial bias in the fashion industry or just discrimination period. This is shown by fashion magazines presenting skinny white models all the time. Just like any black activist I could create all black magazines like JET or Essence but that wouldn’t make a difference. That would just separate things more. So I would have to make a magazine that features all shapes, colors and sizes of people so it can be equal. This change might not as huge as Mandela’s change but at least I would be able to say that I made this world a little more equal.
Briana Walker is a senior at Anacostia High School.