Mandela Inaugurated As South Africa’s First Black President

Today on May 10, 1994, one billion worldwide viewers tuned in to watch Nelson Mandela’s inauguration ceremony as the country’s first Black President.

Nelson Mandela was undoubtedly the most influential leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. The apartheid was an institutionalized system of racial segregation that existed in the country for more than forty years. South Africa was torn apart by white supremacy and the repression of its black population. In 1944, a young lawyer named Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) and eventually became its deputy president. He passionately opposed the apartheid by advocating for a non-violent end to its existence. However, he quickly became enraged and turned to violence after the police massacred a group of peaceful black demonstrators in Sharpeville.

Throughout 1960, Mandela helped to organize an armed division of the ANC and launched a series of guerrilla attacks against the government. Within four years, he was arrested and charged with sabotage along with other prominent ANC. Mandela received a life sentence in prison and served the majority of his time under horrific conditions at the Robben Island Prison. He was confined to a tiny cell without plumbing or a bed. Nevertheless, he remained committed to the cause and continued to be a symbolic leader of the movement. By 1989, President Frederik Willem de Klerk finally began dismantling the apartheid system and suspended many ANC executions. Mandela was released from prison in the following year.

During the early 1990s, he led the ANC’s negotiations with the white minority government, which helped establish a new multiracial government. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their cooperation. The next year, he won the federal election with 63% of the vote, becoming the country's first black head of state. It was also the first truly democratic election. At the age of 76, Nelson Mandela was formally inaugurated at a ceremony in Pretoria attended by more than 4,000 people — many of whom were prominent world leaders. The internationally televised ceremony had over a billion people tune in to watch the historic event. Mandela served only one term as president before retiring from political life.

Fact check!

We strive to provide the most accurate information.
Please contact us if you spot any errors or misrepresentations.


Similar Topics


Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years

Today on February 11th 1990, Nelson Mandela is released from prison after receiving a lifetime sentence more than 27 years earlier. Nelson Mandela was South Afr

English Forces Lose The Last Battle of the 100 Years’ War

Today on July 17, 1453, English forces under the Earl of Shrewsbury were annihilated at the battle of Castillon — the last major conflict of the Hundred Years

Joan of Arc Rallies The French Troops At Jargeau

Today on June 11, 1429, Joan of Arc rallied the French army at the battle of Jargeau — the country's first offensive win in over a generation. The two-day bat