House Concurrent Resolution No. 15




            WHEREAS, Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, activist, lawyer, and philanthropist whose life and accomplishments made him a global icon; and

            WHEREAS, born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, Mandela was given the name Nelson by a primary school teacher in Qunu in accordance with the custom of giving all school children "Christian" names; and

            WHEREAS, his father was chief of the village and a member of the royal family of the Thembu tribe. As a boy, Mandela grew up in the company of tribal elders and chiefs, which gave him a rich sense of African self-government and heritage, despite the cruel treatment of blacks in white-governed South Africa; and

            WHEREAS, the young Mandela dreamed of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people after hearing the elder's stories of his ancestors' valor during the wars of resistance; and


            WHEREAS, in 1944, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), a South African political party which had the primary goal of improving conditions and rights for people of color in South Africa; and

            WHEREAS, Mandela became one of the ANC's younger and more radical leaders as a member and president of the ANC's Youth League. While trying to destroy apartheid peacefully, Mandela began to feel that nonviolent resistence would not change conditions in the end; and

            WHEREAS, in 1952, Mandela's leadership of ANC protest activities led to a nine-month jail sentence of hard labor. Later, in 1956, he was arrested with other ANC leaders for promoting resistance to South Africa's "pass laws" that prevented blacks from moving freely in the country; and

            WHEREAS, following his arrest, Mandela was charged and tried for treason, a marathon trial that only ended when the last 28 accused, including Mandela, were acquitted on March 29, 1961. By this time, however, the South African government had outlawed the ANC; and

            WHEREAS, after the banning of the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela argued for the setting up of a military wing within the ANC. In January 1962, Mandela secretly left South Africa to gain support for the armed struggle and receive military training. After his return to South Africa in July 1962, he was arrested in a police roadblock and charged with leaving the country illegally and inciting workers to strike. He was convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment; and

            WHEREAS, in 1963, Nelson Mandela and many leaders of the ANC stood trial for high treason for plotting to overthrow the government by violence in what became known as the Rivonia Trial. While facing the death penalty, Mandela's April 1964 "Speech from the Dock" became immortalized:


"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."; and

            WHEREAS, in June 1964, Nelson Mandela was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. During his twenty-seven years in prison, his example of quiet suffering was just one of many reasons his reputation grew steadily and he became widely accepted as the most significant black leader of South Africa; and

            WHEREAS, refusing to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom, Nelson Mandela rejected at least three conditional offers of release throughout his imprisonment; and

            WHEREAS, on February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, nine days after the unbanning of the ANC. After his release, Mandela immersed himself wholeheartedly into his life's work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier and receiving joyful welcomes wherever he went around the world; and

            WHEREAS, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa". During his acceptance speech, Mandela said:


"We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people."; and

            WHEREAS, on April 27, 1994, Nelson Mandela voted for the first time in his life and in the first free elections open to all South African citizens. Mandela was elected president with over 62% of the popular vote; and

            WHEREAS, on May 10, 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first democratically elected President. In 1999 and true to his word, Mandela stepped down after one term as president. After leaving office, Mandela quickly accepted the role of statesman, in addition to his work with the Nelson Mandela's Children's Fund and establishing the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation; and

            WHEREAS, Nelson Mandela died in his home in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013. Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality, and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism; and

            WHEREAS, Nelson Mandela's life is an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived, and to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation:

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-seventh General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby recognize July 18, 2014, as "Nelson Mandela Day of Recognition" in Missouri in honor of the accomplishments and legacy of Nelson Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, activist, lawyer, and philanthropist who remained resolute in his fight against oppression and unjust laws in South Africa and around the world; and

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly recommends to the citizens of this state to observe the day with appropriate activities and events in honor of and out of respect for Nelson Mandela, who, in his own words, "cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities".