Leaders of the Nation

South Africa’s struggle against the National Party government lasted over 40 years.

In the 1990s, many change were made: the country held its first free elections, Apartheid ended, and the first black president was elected. These change were due to the actions of some courageous leaders and thousands of their followers.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a religious leader during the Apartheid era. Tutu encouraged South Africans to peacefully disobey the laws they found to be unjust. Civil disobedience has been used throughout history.

In South Africa, those who stayed behind to fight risked arrest and even death. Nelson Mandela was kept in prison for 27 years, but during that time he sent secret messages to fellow fighters through his wife, Winnie Mandela.

Today, people like Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela are celebrated as freedom fighters. Whether through non-violent protest or politics each played an important part in working toward a free South Africa.

Who is the most courageous person you know?