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My name is Jennifer MacKaben and I study journalism and anthropology at Humboldt State University. I am intrigued by the effects of different cultures on individual's visions of the world.
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South Africa honors Nelson Mandela on 20th anniversary of prison release
South Africa celebrates Mandela release
The release of Nelson Mandela from Victor Verster prison 20 years ago marks a praiseworthy event in South Africa. The anniversary, celebrated Feb. 11, is a symbolic date as it represents the cessation of apartheid. Mandela attended a commemorative speech given by President Jacob Zuma in Cape Town Thursday Feb. 11. Mandela is 91 years old and public appearances are rare. His presence was welcomed with chants (“Viva Mandela!”) and song (“Nelson Mandela, there is none like you!”). Zuma’s speech outlined solutions for current economic troubles. He announced plans to create more jobs and issue a stricter oversight in governmental spending. [http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2010/02/2010211171521703967.html ] Zuma also took the time and opportunity to honor Mandela’s accomplishments. Zuma asked fellow South Africans to continue to carry out Mandela’s model: “Building a better future for all South Africans, black and white.” [http://www.durangoherald.com/sections/News/2010/02/1/South_Africa_honors_Nelson_Mandela/ ]
History of Apartheid
Apartheid stems from an Afrikaan word for “apartness.” It became a social custom when Afrikaner Nationalists came to political power in 1948. Apartheid was achieved through the Population Registration Act of 1950. This act went on to categorize South Africans as Bantu (black African), Coloured (of mixed race), Asian (Indians and Pakistanis), or white. Segregation was underway. Many more laws passed to ensure the existence and exercise of apartheid in the 1950’s. The laws relocated racial categories to different residential areas. It also restricted travelling and land ownership for nonwhite South Africans. Eventually, the white minority owned more than 80 percent of the land. Apartheid laws enforced segregation in public places, in educational standards and limited social contact between races. Also, nonwhite participation in government was highly restricted. Resistance to apartheid, however, did exist within and outside South Africa. South African President F. W. de Klerk finally began to break down the apartheid system in 1990. Also during this year, nonwhite congresses were finally legalized and anti-apartheid leaders, like Nelson Mandela, were released from prison. 
A 26-year-old Mandela helped to develop the ANC Youth League. This new wing was a part of the African National Congress. The ANC formed to increase the rights of South Africa’s black population. In the 1952 Defiance Campaign, Mandela served as chief volunteer and traveled across South Africa inspiring an organized resistance to segregation. He also spoke out against segregation in South African educational systems saying, “make every home, every shack or rickety structure a center of learning.” The ANC was banned in 1960. Mandela snuck off to Algeria in 1962 for military training. Upon re-entering South Africa, Mandela was arrested for leaving the country illegally and for incitement to strike. He defended himself during the trial and lost the case. Mandela was sentenced to five years in jail. In the midst of serving that sentence, he was convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was known as a ‘source of strength’ among fellow prisoners at the Vector Verster prison.  In 1990, President F. W. de Klerk began dismantling apartheid laws and announced the unbanning of the ANC. A week later, de Klerk announced the releasing of Mandela on Feb. 11. Four years later, an all-race election was held. South Africa elected Nelson Mandela into office as the country’s fist black president. Mandela won many awards (including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize), which acknowledges his heavy activity in advocating racial reconciliation and ensuring a peaceful transition out of apartheid that spared South Africa of a potential race war. [http://www.durangoherald.com/sections/News/2010/02/12/South_Africa_honors_Nelson_Mandela/ ] Mandela quickly put together the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a response to the resulting social injustices of apartheid. The commission investigated apartheid crimes through interviewing all of those involved and those it affected.
"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." --Nelson Mandela