when did nelson mandela became a lawyer

by Dr. Quinn O'Connell III 10 min read

In order that he could earn enough and care for his family Mandela began studying for his qualifying attorney admission exams which he successfully completed. According to the records of the (former) Incorporated Law Society of the Transvaal, Mandela was admitted on the roll of attorneys in March 1951.

Did Nelson Mandela become a lawyer?

Nelson Mandela will be remembered as a great leader, visionary thinker and statesman. What may not be known so well is that he was firstly a lawyer. He was the only Black African in his class studying law at Witwatersrand University in the 1940s and practised law in the 1950s in partnership with Oliver Tambo.

When did Nelson become a lawyer?

But did you know he was also a lawyer? A two-year diploma in law on top of his B.A. allowed Mandela to practice law and in August 1952, he and Oliver Tambo established South Africa's first black law firm, Mandela and Tambo, according to the Dhaka Tribune.

When did Mandela start his law firm?

1952Mandela and Tambo was a South African law firm established by Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo in Johannesburg in late 1952. It was the first "Attorney Firm" in the country to be run by black partners.

Was Nelson Mandela a lawyer in South Africa?

Nelson renounced his claim to the chieftainship to become a lawyer. He attended South African Native College (later the University of Fort Hare) and studied law at the University of the Witwatersrand; he later passed the qualification exam to become a lawyer.

Who was the first black lawyer of South Africa?

From the first black lawyer to practice in modern-day South Africa, Henry Sylvester Williams down to through the formation of liberation movements, it provides a deeper perspective on the need for constitutionalism.

Was Mandela a good lawyer?

He and his friend Oliver Tambo opened the first black legal practice, Mandela & Tambo, in South Africa in 1952, giving affordable and often free advice to black people who could otherwise not afford it. Dr Curlewis said that as one of the few qualified black lawyers, Nelson Mandela was in great demand.

When and where was Nelson Mandela born?

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, also known as Madiba, was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, in Mvezo, South Africa; the name Nelson was later ad...

When did Nelson Mandela die?

Nelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013, in Johannesburg. He was 95 years old. After his death was announced, his life was remembered and celebrate...

What is Nelson Mandela known for?

Nelson Mandela is known for several things, but perhaps he is best known for successfully leading the resistance to South Africa’s policy of aparth...

To whom was Nelson Mandela married?

Nelson Mandela had three wives: Evelyn Ntoko Mase (1944–58); Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1958–96), who was also a noteworthy anti-apartheid champion...

What publications did Nelson Mandela write?

Nelson Mandela’s writings included I Am Prepared to Die (1964; rev. ed. 1986); No Easy Walk to Freedom (1965; updated ed. 2002); The Struggle Is My...

What profession did Nelson Mandela practice?

For over two decades, from 1941 to 1961, Nelson Mandela was a member of the organized legal profession in South Africa: an articled clerk, a professional assistant, a sole practitioner and well as practicing in partnership.

What college did Nelson Mandela attend?

Soon thereafter he was taken in the regent’s car to Clarkebury College, which was founded by the Methodist Missionaries in 1825 when the Thembu King, Ngubengcuka, granted them land. Here Mandela showed promise as a student, completing his Junior Certificate in the reduced time of 2 years.

What was Mandela given?

He was given a round hat, a knopkierrie night stick and a whistle. Another telegram arrived from Jongintaba urging the induna to send the brothers home. Mandela had an old revolver in his suitcase which was searched by a guard as they were about to leave.

How old was Nelson Mandela when his father died?

Nelson Mandela was aged nine when his father, Henry Gadla died. Shortly before his death his father had arranged for the young Mandela to live with the Thembu Paramount Chief-Jongintaba, the regent of the Paramount Kingdom.

When did Nelson Mandela start the Republic?

The date of the proclamation of the Republic was set for the fifty-first anniversary of the union, 31 May 1961. In May 1961 and only ten days after his second five year banning order had expired, Mandela appeared at the All-In Africa conference at Pietermaritzburg, which some 1 400 delegates attended.

When did Nelson Mandela reregister for LLB?

In 1952, Mandela re-registered for the LLB at Wits, but that was cancelled in mid-year for non payment of fees.

Where was Nelson Mandela born?

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 at Mvezo, a tiny village on the banks of the Mbase River, in the district of Umtata, and spent most of his early years at Qunu. His father’s family were members of the royal clan and councillors to the Thembu king. They traced their lineage to King Ngubengcuka (c1790-1830) who had united the Thembu kingdom, which was a loose agglomeration of chieftaincies. Nelson Mandela was aged nine when his father, Henry Gadla died. Shortly before his death his father had arranged for the young Mandela to live with the Thembu Paramount Chief-Jongintaba, the regent of the Paramount Kingdom.

When did Nelson Mandela start his legacy?

In 2005, he founded the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust, travelling to the US to speak before the Brookings Institution and the NAACP on the need for economic assistance to Africa. He spoke with US Senator Hillary Clinton and President George W. Bush and first met the then-Senator Barack Obama.

Where was Nelson Mandela born?

Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then part of South Africa's Cape Province. Given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning "troublemaker", in later years he became known by his clan name, Madiba. His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was king of the Thembu people in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa's modern Eastern Cape province. One of Ngubengcuka's sons, named Mandela, was Nelson's grandfather and the source of his surname. Because Mandela was the king's child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan, a so-called "Left-Hand House", the descendants of his cadet branch of the royal family were morganatic, ineligible to inherit the throne but recognised as hereditary royal councillors.

How many awards did Nelson Mandela receive?

Over the course of his life, Mandela was given over 250 awards, accolades, prizes, honorary degrees and citizenships in recognition of his political achievements. Among his awards were the Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Union's Lenin Peace Prize, and the Libyan Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights. In 1990, India awarded him the Bharat Ratna, and in 1992 Pakistan gave him their Nishan-e-Pakistan. The same year, he was awarded the Atatürk Peace Award by Turkey; he at first refused the award, citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at the time, but later accepted the award in 1999. He was appointed to the Order of Isabella the Catholic and the Order of Canada, and was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen. Queen Elizabeth II appointed him as a Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John and granted him membership in the Order of Merit.

What did Nelson Mandela do to prevent the ANC strike?

Mandela held secret meetings with reporters, and after the government failed to prevent the strike, he warned them that many anti-apartheid activists would soon resort to violence through groups like the PAC's Poqo. He believed that the ANC should form an armed group to channel some of this violence in a controlled direction, convincing both ANC leader Albert Luthuli —who was morally opposed to violence—and allied activist groups of its necessity.

How many times did Nelson Mandela fail his final year?

Having devoted his time to politics, Mandela failed his final year at Witwatersrand three times; he was ultimately denied his degree in December 1949.

What did Nelson Mandela say about his father?

Feeling "cut adrift", he later said that he inherited his father's "proud rebelliousness" and "stubborn sense of fairness". Mandela's mother took him to the "Great Place" palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted to the guardianship of the Thembu regent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo.

Why did Nelson Mandela return to Johannesburg?

After he passed his BA exams in early 1943, Mandela returned to Johannesburg to follow a political path as a lawyer rather than become a privy councillor in Thembuland. He later stated that he experienced no epiphany, but that he "simply found [himself] doing so, and could not do otherwise.".

What was Nelson Mandela's first law firm?

A two-year diploma in law on top of his BA allowed Mandela to practise law, and in August 1952 he and Oliver Tambo established South Africa’s first black law firm, Mandela & Tambo. At the end of 1952 he was banned for the first time.

When did Nelson Mandela leave South Africa?

On 11 January 1962, using the adopted name David Motsamayi, Mandela secretly left South Africa. He travelled around Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia and returned to South Africa in July 1962.

How many children did Nelson Mandela have?

They had two sons, Madiba Thembekile "Thembi" and Makgatho, and two daughters both called Makaziwe, the first of whom died in infancy. He and his wife divorced in 1958. Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through its efforts, the ANC adopted a more radical mass-based policy, the Programme of Action, in 1949.

When did Nelson Mandela start his strike?

After he and his colleagues were acquitted in the Treason Trial, Mandela went underground and began planning a national strike for 29, 30 and 31 March. In the face of massive mobilisation of state security the strike was called off early.

Where did Nelson Mandela go to school?

He completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went on to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute, where he matriculated. Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree there as he was expelled for joining in a student protest.

When did Nelson Mandela join the ANC?

Mandela, while increasingly politically involved from 1942, only joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped to form the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). In 1944 he married Walter Sisulu’s cousin, Evelyn Mase, a nurse.

When did Mandela's trial end?

Men and women of all races found themselves in the dock in the marathon trial that only ended when the last 28 accused, including Mandela, were acquitted on 29 March 1961. On 21 March 1960 police killed 69 unarmed people in a protest in Sharpeville against the pass laws.

Why is Nelson Mandela considered an ideal lawyer?

Recognizing Mandela as the ideal lawyer is the type of reorientation that would highlight the real tangible goods that lawyers can contribute to society today, including the ability to help provide access to justice and create civic cohesion.

What did Nelson Mandela do as a leader?

As a leader of the African National Congress, Mandela eagerly participated in both strategic and tactical deliberations with his ANC colleagues, helping to craft the political and legal ideas that would one day drag a country kicking and screaming from the brink of civil war to the aspiration of truth and reconciliation.

What did Nelson Mandela find out about the blue chip law firms?

Not only were the white law firms often too expensive for Blacks, but Mandela found out through his own investigation that many of the blue-chip firms “charged Africans even higher fees for criminal and civil cases than they did their far wealthier white clients.” 1. Nelson Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom 128 (1994).

What values did Nelson Mandela put on the line?

However, few have recognized that the values that Mandela put his life on the line for-democracy, human rights, and the rule of law —are the highest values of the legal profession, shared by many lawyers around the world. In all likelihood, Mandela’s life in the law played a significant role in the formation of his character as ...

Who is Nelson Mandela's lawyer?

Q&A: Nelson Mandela’s lawyer. George Bizos, attorney and friend of Mandela, used the courtroom as a battlefield during anti-apartheid struggle. George Bizos was a long-time friend and lawyer of Nelson Mandela [Matthew Cassel/Al Jazeera] While Nelson Mandela will forever be known as the champion of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, ...

Who was the leader of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa?

While Nelson Mandela will forever be known as the champion of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, there were many unsung heroes who, for decades, fought for the same cause. Teachers, workers, students and many others fought against the country’s apartheid regime from its founding in 1948 until it was brought down with South Africa’s ...

Who said "guilty or not guilty"?

Bizos: No, right at the beginning Nelson Mandela said, “Guilty or not guilty, the government should be where I am [on trial]. I plead not guilty.” The judge became upset and he said, “I just want guilty or not guilty, and no speeches”. [Mandela] was defiant [laughs]. [Other ANC leaders] Walter Sisulu said the same thing, so did Govan Mbeki. Dennis Goldberg said, “I agree with my colleagues”.

Did the judges expect lawyers to expose the lies that we were told in order to justify the death?

They didn’t expect that there would be lawyers who would expose the lies that we were told in order to justify the death. The judges were pro-apartheid in the main, but what the judicial consciousness indicated to them was that they couldn’t put a stamp of approval on individual injustice.

Can lawyers do anything in a totalitarian state?

In a totalitarian state properly, lawyers can’t do anything. They’ll send you to Siberia, throw you out of a plane in Argentina, they would bump you off, put you in a cell in Spain or Portugal, in Italy, but in South Africa there was a vestige of judicial freedom, primarily for whites.

Who led the protests in 1948?

One of the students that led the protests was Nelson Mandela. He spoke regularly during lunch hour meetings and even though I was a first-year student (he was four years ahead), we became friends in 1948.

Did Nelson Mandela have a legal team?

Al Jazeera: I think I remember reading about this in Mandela’s autobiography, that there was some controversy with his legal team at the time. Bizos: Yes, because I told him you don’t want to be accused of seeking martyrdom. You made all this effort because you want to live in the sort of country that you want South Africa to become.

Aspiring Black Lawyers Follow

Nelson Mandela, born Rolihlahla Mandela in 1918, is one of the most famous people in modern history and continues to be so even after his passing in 2013. Mandela is synonymous with the fighting of oppression more generally, but also in bringing about the end of the Apartheid system that ruled over South Africa for more than 40 years.

Aspiring Black Lawyers

Tomorrow is Nelson Mandela Day, and to celebrate the icon that was Nelson Mandela, this article focuses upon his legal career and his approach to representing those who required justice.

Who was Nelson Mandela's lawyer?

Following the passing of former President Nelson Mandela on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95, De Rebus contacted the President of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP), Dr Llewellyn Curlewis for more information on former President Mandela’s academic life and legal career.

What happened to Nelson Mandela?

In 1956, Mr Mandela, along with several other members of the ANC were arrested and charged with treason. After a lengthy and protracted court case the defendants were finally acquitted in 1961.

What did Nelson Mandela fight for?

He fought for equality, freedom and democracy. We will continue to promote and protect his legacy and the principles for which he fought’, he stated. He added that Mr Mandela would be remembered as a lawyer who had courage and took the initiative to open the very first black attorneys firm in Johannesburg.

Who introduced Nelson Mandela to Lazer Sidelsky?

During the early 1940s in Johannesburg, Walter Sisulu introduced him to Lazer Sidelsky and he did his articles at Witkin Eidelman Sidelsky.During his time at university, Mr Mandela became increasingly aware of the racial inequality and injustice faced by non-whites.

Did Nelson Mandela get an LLB?

In 1989, while in the last months of his imprisonment, the late former President obtained an LLB degree through the University of South Africa. He graduated in absentia at a ceremony in Cape Town.

Did the LSNP pay tribute to Mandela?

The application was dismissed. The LSNP also paid tribute to Mr Mandela at the time of his death . In a statement, Dr Curlewis said that the LSNP was sad to learn of his passing and added that the LSNP council mourns and celebrates ‘the life of one of South Africa’s well-known and well-loved attorneys.’.

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Overview

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reco…

Early life

Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then part of South Africa's Cape Province. Given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning "troublemaker", in later years he became known by his clan name, Madiba. His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was ruler of the Thembu Kingdom in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa's modern Easter…

Revolutionary activity

Mandela began studying law at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was the only black African student and faced racism. There, he befriended liberal and communist European, Jewish and Indian students, among them Joe Slovo and Ruth First. Becoming increasingly politicised, Mandela marched in August 1943 in support of a successful bus boycott to reverse fare rises. Joini…

Imprisonment

On 5 August 1962, police captured Mandela along with fellow activist Cecil Williams near Howick. Many MK members suspected that the authorities had been tipped off with regard to Mandela's whereabouts, although Mandela himself gave these ideas little credence. In later years, Donald Rickard, a former American diplomat, revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency, which feare…

End of apartheid

Mandela proceeded on an African tour, meeting supporters and politicians in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Libya and Algeria, and continuing to Sweden, where he was reunited with Tambo, and London, where he appeared at the Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa concert at Wembley Stadium. Encouraging foreign countries to support sanctions agains…

Presidency of South Africa: 1994–1999

The newly elected National Assembly's first act was to formally elect Mandela as South Africa's first black chief executive. His inauguration took place in Pretoria on 10 May 1994, televised to a billion viewers globally. The event was attended by four thousand guests, including world leaders from a wide range of geographic and ideological backgrounds. Mandela headed a Government of N…

Retirement

Retiring in June 1999, Mandela aimed to lead a quiet family life, divided between Johannesburg and Qunu. Although he set about authoring a sequel to his first autobiography, to be titled The Presidential Years, it was abandoned before publication. Mandela found such seclusion difficult and reverted to a busy public life involving daily programme of tasks, meetings with world leaders an…

Political ideology

Mandela identified as both an African nationalist, an ideological position he held since joining the ANC, and as a socialist. He was a practical politician, rather than an intellectual scholar or political theorist. According to biographer Tom Lodge, "for Mandela, politics has always been primarily about enacting stories, about making narratives, primarily about morally exemplary conduct, and only …

Early life

  • He attended primary school in Qunu where his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the name Nelson, in accordance with the custom of giving all schoolchildren Christian names.
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Education

  • He completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went on to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute, where he matriculated. Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree there as he was expelled for joining in a student protest. He completed his BA through th…
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Later career

  • In 1952 he was chosen as the National Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign with Maulvi Cachalia as his deputy. This campaign of civil disobedience against six unjust laws was a joint programme between the ANC and the South African Indian Congress. He and 19 others were charged under the Suppression of Communism Act for their part in the campaign and sentence…
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Early career

  • A two-year diploma in law on top of his BA allowed Mandela to practise law, and in August 1952 he and Oliver Tambo established South Africas first black law firm, Mandela & Tambo.
See more on nelsonmandela.org

Controversy

  • At the end of 1952 he was banned for the first time. As a restricted person he was only permitted to watch in secret as the Freedom Charter was adopted in Kliptown on 26 June 1955.
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Trial

  • Mandela was arrested in a countrywide police swoop on 5 December 1956, which led to the 1956 Treason Trial. Men and women of all races found themselves in the dock in the marathon trial that only ended when the last 28 accused, including Mandela, were acquitted on 29 March 1961. He was charged with leaving the country without a permit and inciting workers to strike. He was co…
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Marriage

  • During the trial Mandela married a social worker, Winnie Madikizela, on 14 June 1958. They had two daughters, Zenani and Zindziswa. The couple divorced in 1996.
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Aftermath

  • Days before the end of the Treason Trial, Mandela travelled to Pietermaritzburg to speak at the All-in Africa Conference, which resolved that he should write to Prime Minister Verwoerd requesting a national convention on a non-racial constitution, and to warn that should he not agree there would be a national strike against South Africa becoming a republic. After he and hi…
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Later life

  • Mandela immersed himself in official talks to end white minority rule and in 1991 was elected ANC President to replace his ailing friend, Oliver Tambo. In 1993 he and President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize and on 27 April 1994 he voted for the first time in his life.
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Personal life

  • In April 2007 his grandson, Mandla Mandela, was installed as head of the Mvezo Traditional Council at a ceremony at the Mvezo Great Place.
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Legacy

  • Nelson Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life is an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived; and to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.
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Ancestry

  • 1. Nelson Mandela's father died in 1930 when Mandela was 12 and his mother died in 1968 when he was in prison. While the autobiography Long Walk to Freedom says his father died when he was nine, historical evidence shows it must have been later, most likely 1930. In fact, the original Long Walk to Freedom manuscript (written on Robben Island) states the year as 1930, when he …
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