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10 Shocking Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Mandela

By Staff Writer

  1. Mandela’s father had four wives who all lived in different villages. He was the youngest of his father’s sons.
  2. When Mandela started off as a lawyer, he wore the same suit every day for five years.
  3. The name “Nelson” was given to him by his teacher on his first day of elementary school in the 1920s.
  4. In 1962, Mandela received revolutionary training in Morocco and Ethiopia.
  5. The apartheid government offered to release Mandela on no less than six occasions, but he rejected them, on principle.
  6. While he was in prison, Mandela would read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” to fellow prisoners. The poem, about never giving up, resonated with Mandela for its lines, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
  7. Because of Mandela’s decades-long imprisonment, few people knew what he looked like or had seen a recent photograph.
  8. Mandela was recognised in the United States and Britain as being a terrorist. It wasn’t until 2008 did the United States officially removed Mandela from its terror list.
  9. Mandela received more than 250 awards, including honorary degrees from more than 50 universities worldwide.
  10. 90 heads of states travelled to South Africa to attend his memorial service.