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What were the major turning points in Nelson Mandela's life?

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Turning Points in Mandela's Life Nelson Mandela was a black lawyer who played a major role in the struggle against apartheid. His incredible life story was filled with many turning points - influential moments and events that caused great change in South Africa. The first major turning point in Mandela's life was in when he arrived in Johannesburg to take part in the times of great change in South Africa. He was well educated and believed there was more out there for him so ran away from an arranged marriage to move to the city. He emerged into streets of white prosperity and black poverty and violence. Here he experienced racial discrimination for the first time. This changed his life because having had his eyes opened to the true state of segregation in South Africa, he became determined to make a change and throw off the chains of white supremacy. Mandela began working as a lawyer's clerk by Walter Sisulu and was later able to set up his own all- black firm with a friend Oliver Tambo. ...read more.


Mandela had always been against violence but Sharpeville caused him to change his mind. This was a very important moment in his life as it led to his troubles later on. The next major turning point came after Mandela had gone into hiding whilst organising the MK. The MK base was discovered along with much evidence linking him and others to acts of violence and sabotage. He was caught and sentenced. During the Rivonia Trial Mandela made a four hour opening speech that rose above self defence- it appealed to white South Africans to understand their black fellow country people, and to try to deal with their fears and the idea of a 'one person, one vote' democracy. This heart wrenching, eye opening speech was very important as it saved Mandela and seven fellow defendants from death, but made many realise the true state of apartheid and how much better life could be if it were to change. This changed Mandela's life as he had inspired millions of blacks, and helped the government become conscious of the fact that he was not merely a troublemaker- he was a well-loved, passionate and educated activist who was determined to achieve his aims. ...read more.


Here he gained publicity and the love of the people. Sharpeville made Mandela realise he would have to go a step further to achieve his dreams and take up violence, there was no other choice. His involvement in the MK landed him in front of a judge where he gave an eye opening speech about apartheid and his simple wishes- he was saved from death but received 27 years imprisonment. As President he was able to make the changes he had dreamed of for so long. All these turning points are important, as they lead from one to the next but I believe that the major turning point was Mandela's turn to violence. Having always been against violence, he was abandoning one of his principles, but it was this turn that really got the wheels spinning. With his move to violence, the government was forced into action, and many other blacks took up the struggle. His involvement led him to his trial, the Rivonia Trial, where he was given the opportunity to open eyes, publicise his cause and inspire others before being sentenced to life. ...read more.

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