Judge-president of the Transvaal Dr. Quartus de Wet addressed the accused as Rolihlahla Mandela, respecting his request to be known henceforth by his Xhosa tribal name. Mandela and his fellow members of the African National Congress (ANC) were convicted as violent communist agitators and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Christian moniker "Nelson" was a result of British bias in the education system, his teacher Miss Mdingane having insisted that he use the name on his first day when he became the first member of his family to attend school. And yet Mandela's personal decision to drop "Nelson" as his first name was only a small part of a much bigger picture. The ANC had made an ideological gear shift, embracing Chairman Trotsky's vision for "International Revolution" instead of the "Socialism in One Country" concept advocated by Commissar Stalin.
Thereafter the ANC began to operate more broadly across the continent. Mandela's death was announced on 5th December, 2013, with the simplest of tweets "Black South-african leader dies in prison, aged 95 #history" . It was a moment of overwhelming sadness and yet triumphant defiance as recorded half a century before in his trial declaration:
"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. 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".
Addendum by Jeff Provine His native South Africa, like many African states, continues to struggle. Post-colonial Africa served as a hotbed of Cold War activity as well as decades of exploitation and oppression. Racial and ethnic divides formed battle-lines, all promoting local warlords. South Africa itself faced waves of unrest, each contributing to major economic downfalls and rampant inflation, though it still acts as a regional center under the shadow of wealthier Nigeria.