By Gerry Breen
4th August, 1962 – On this day, Nelson Mandela was arrested by security police in South Africa. He was subsequently tried and sentenced to five years in prison.
Two years later, he was placed on trial for sabotage, high treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government and was sentenced to life in prison. Following a worldwide campaign to free him, he was eventually released on 11th February, 1990, at the age of 71 years after spending 27 years in prison.
Mandela, who was a Xhosa, was born on 18th July, 1918, into the Thembu royal family in Myezo, British South Africa. He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg.
There he became involved in politics, and was a courageous fighter against apartheid and the injustices suffered by black people. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
His government was noted for its work in dismantling the legacy of apartheid and institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation.
In 1993, Nelson Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with South Africa’s President F.W. de Klerk for their peaceful efforts to bring non-racial democracy to South Africa.
He died on 5th December, 2013.
12th August, 1908 – On this day, the first Model T car, which became known as the Tin Lizzie, rolled off the Ford production line. It is generally known as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened up travel to the ordinary middle-class American.
The Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition ahead of the BMC Mini, Citroen DS and Volkswagen Type 1. With 16.5 million sold, it stands eighth on the top ten list of most sold cars of all time as of 2012.