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20 Surprising Nelson Mandela Facts

by Virupakshi
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surprising nelson mandela facts

In our last article on Nelson Mandela facts, we learned some common stuff about this great man. However, if you are looking for some surprising facts about Nelson Mandela, your search should end with this article! Here we will learn about things like Mandela particle, Australopicus nelsonmandelai and more. Just keep reading folks…

Surprising Nelson Mandela Facts: 1-5

1. Nelson Mandela, though spent 27 years of his life in prison, was an ace in disguising himself. He was in a chauffer’s disguise when he was arrested in 1962.

2. Ironically and fortunately enough, the speech that Nelson Mandela made on the day of trial earned him a lesser punishment of “life imprisonment”. His speech which was published as “I am prepared to die” earned worldwide attention.

3. Even when he was in prison, he contacted other fellow prison inmates to fight for better living conditions in prison. He contacted them by writing messages on empty matchboxes, toilet papers etc. and in this way, he organized a hunger strike and succeeded as well.

4. He played a cameo role in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X in 1992. He acted as a teacher who was narrating speech of civil rights activist. However, he didn’t agree to say the ending words “by any means necessary”.

5. If Anthony Sampson, the official biographer of Nelson Mandela, was to be believed, during Mandela’s rule, around 3 million South Africans were connected through telephone and had access to drinking water, 1.5 million children were getting education, 2 million people had access to electricity and 7,50,000 houses were built, which sheltered nearly 3 million people.

Surprising Nelson Mandela Facts: 6-10

6. He regretted that he didn’t devote his time to AIDS issue when he was the president. Later, he established 46664 (which was his prison number – he was the 466th prisoner in the year 1964 and so, 46664) – a non-profit organization completely dedicated to spread awareness and prevent AIDS.

7. His son, Makgatho Mandela died of AIDS and he pleaded the people of South Africa to consider AIDS as a disease and not as curse where, the people who were affected by AIDS, would go to hell.

8. Apart from the Nobel Peace Prize, he won over 250 awards and received honorary degrees from over 50 universities. He was the first living person to receive Canadian Citizenship and the last person to be awarded Lenin Peace Prize by Russia (then “The Soviet Union”).

9. Though there are many streets on Mandela’s name but, did you know that biologists named a prehistoric woodpecker as Australopicus nelsonmandelai? If that’s not enough for you, Leeds University’s physicists named a nuclear particle as Mandela particle.

10. He was listed in USA’s terror watch list till 2008 with his ANC (African National Congress) members because of their armed rebellion against apartheid.

Surprising Nelson Mandela Facts: 11-15

11. He was inspired by William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus”. He would read out this poem to his prison inmates and encourage them to “never give up”.

12. CIA (Central Investigating Agency of USA) gave the location of Nelson Mandela to the then South African government in 1962 because of which he was arrested for 27 long years.

13. Mandela was the co-author of the book “How Far We Slaves Have Come” along with Fidel Castro (Cuban Revolutionary and Politician who became the Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976).

14. During the 1980’s, British Parliament had a very strong dislike for him. Some MP’s wanted him to be hanged, some wanted him to be shot. Margaret Thatcher, the first woman PM of Britain, considered him a terrorist.

15. Graça Machel is the only woman to be the first lady of two nations. She was the wife of Samora Machel, President of Mozambique and then she married Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa.

Surprising Nelson Mandela Facts: 16-20

16. Mandela’s handprint resembles the shape of the African continent.

17. One of the first questions asked by Nelson Mandela after his 27-yearlong imprisonment was whether Donald Bradman, a cricket legend, was still alive or not. He asked this question to an Australian statesman.

18. He once called the Queen of Britain, Queen Elizabeth II by her name and passed few comments on her weight and her dressing style.

19. Nelson Mandela failed to cry after he was released from prison. Wondering why? That’s because his tear glands were damaged due to the work he was forced to do in the prison.

20. He gave credits to a book (of many books he read and referred) called “The Revolt” by former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin in helping him plan the guerrilla campaign of ANC against apartheid.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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