Nelson Mandela: The Father of South Africa Album | American Heritage Bullion

Nelson Mandela: The Father of South Africa Album


  • $30.54

Apartheid is an Afrikaans word meaning apart-ness. With the emergence of the National Party in 1948, it became the law of the land in South Africa. A system of rigid racial segregation in the country, populated largely by blacks, kept the minority whites in power for much of the 20th century. Nelson Mandela spent most of his life struggling against apartheid—as a leader of the African National Congress’s Youth League, as the ANC president, as a political prisoner, and, in the nation’s first multiracial elections after his release from prison, as the president of South Africa. Like Gandhi in India, Mandela embraced nonviolent protest, successfully ending the oppression of his people.

Born in 1918 to the Thembu royal family, Mandela studied law at university. In Johannseburg, he involved himself with anti-colonial protest, joining the fledgling ANC. In 1955, seven years into the state-mandated apartheid system, he oversaw the Congress of the People, which activity led to repeated arrests. At the end of the decade, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe, where he briefly abandoned nonviolence to lead a bombing campaign against government targets. After his arrest, he was convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison, most notably on Robben Island, a notorious detention center. Even in jail, the policies of apartheid held; black prisoners were given fewer daily rations than whites. He was transferred to two other facilities, and was at Victor Verser Prison when he was finally released in 1990, after a lengthy international effort to lobby for his freedom. He worked with then-president F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and hold inclusive elections. Once elected president in 1994, Mandela formed a unity government, in an attempt to quell racial tensions. Wellrespected in the international community, he served as a mediator between Great Britain and Libya in the Lockerbie trial. After stepping down as president, he established the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to fight poverty and combat AIDS. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin, among many other honors.

Issued in 2012 by the South African Reserve Bank these 10 rand banknotes are part of a series honoring “The Father of South Africa,” the anti-apartheid activist and revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela, who appears on the obverse as well as the watermark. The rhino head appears on the reverse, denoting strength.

South Africa has 11 official languages, all of which appear on the various denominations in this series. The 10 rand note has the name of the South African Reserve Bank in Afrikaans (Suid-Afrikaanse Reserw ebank) and siSw ati (Libhangesilulu LeNingizim u Afrika).

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