“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb (,” was said by Nelson Mandela.

Mandela has been met with many obstacles, however he has been able to overcome each one successfully. Each time Mandela overcame a hindrance, he always thought it was finally over, unfortunately there were many more difficulties which he handled just as effectively. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18th, 1918 in Mvezo, a small village on the Mboshe River in Transkei, ZA (South Africa). Mandela came from a large and noble family, they were Xhosa people. The first seven years of Mandela’s life, he obtained most of his knowledge from his parents, other elders and basically life around him. Nelson Mandela was the first person in his family to attend school; he enrolled in school at 7yrs old.

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Mandela’s early childhood prepared him for the rough obstacles that lay ahead. (Kramer 8-17) South Africa’s first black president was faced with an array of obstacles or as I like to call them, bumps in the road. Mandela had to overcome; racial discrimination, jail time, losing his two sons and serving/protecting ZA as president. First of all, Mandela was sentenced to 27yrs in prison, due to supporting the anti-apartheid movement to the full extent. The apartheid movement (opposite of anti-apartheid) is all races of people are separated drastically.

Caucasian people were considered superior over the darker coloured people. Darker coloured individuals were treated much like slaves were treated here in the US; they wore shabby old clothes, masters (Caucasian) did not trust them at all and they even had isolated land areas for the darker people. Mandela simply wanted the two races to stand side by side and join forces to create a civil country where they will prosper in harmony. In the winter of 1964, Nelson Mandela was brought to Robben Island, the place he would spend 18 of his 27 prison years ( While on Robben Island, Mandela encountered numerous hardships; rarely interacting with family, lack of comfort, and days and days of agonizing work on a quarry.

Although Mandela faced those rough adversities, Robben Island became the crucible which transformed him. While researching Mandela, I learned he was a persistent person, he never gave up. Mandela became the ‘master’ of his own prison while on Robben Island ( After serving 18yrs on Robben Island, Mandela was sent to Pollsmoor Prison and then to the Victor Verster Prison.

While serving time in all three prisons, Mandela faced severe hindrances, but these hindrances molded him for his new life as President of South Africa. He had all the mental strength and power needed. Nelson Mandela was released from prison on the 11 February 1990. Upon the word that Mandela was released, numerous amounts of people danced and celebrated in the streets of ZA and even across the world (! Secondly, Mandela has dealt with the passing of his two sons. His younger son died in a car crash while he was in prison and was not granted the wish to attend his funeral. Mandela’s eldest son Makgatho, died from the deadly disease AIDS in January ’05. Due to Makgatho’s death, Mandela has been one of the world’s most known advocates for the fight against AIDS (New York Times). Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to the majority of ZA, due to how well he handled each of his obstacles.

Citizens of ZA and people across the world, admire him for his strength and bravery. The population of ZA loves Mandela; after all, he did open doors people thought were locked forever. In comparison to Nelson Mandela, previous South African presidents such as, Pieter Botha did not have to endure the excessive amounts of racial discrimination, due to him being Caucasian. Mandela on the other hand, was a prime target. Although Mandela was confronted with racism, he handled it maturely and continued to protest against the apartheid movement.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done (,” Mandela once said. If Mandela had given up at any point in his life, he would have not been the influential person he is today. Nelson Mandela never gave up; he fought for what he believed in. Due to the hard work and effort of Mandela, everyone in South Africa has equal freedom. There is a day dedicated to Nelson Mandela; “Mandela Day”, on this day everyone recognizes his achievements…they recognize what he thought was impossible, until he accomplished it