Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, a person who is known for his revolutionary work, was a politician, and a philanthropist. Born on 18 July 1918, Mandela was the first black South African President, serving his country from 1994 to 1999. It was the first time that completely democratic elections were held in the country and Mandela was chosen as the president of the state. When someone names this personality, the first thing that pops up in your mind is perhaps the Anti-apartheid movement that was led by him. However, apart from that, there are plenty of things that you may not know. Here, we are going to put some light on Nelson Mandela as Boxer.
Mentioning Boxing in The Long Walk to Freedom
The Long Walk to Freedom is the autobiography of Mandela. In his book, he put the light on various parts of his life. Among many other things, he mentions his passion for boxing and what he loves about it. Well, to many people, it will be a great surprise. It is because Mandela was a philanthropist and a person who was not much into violence. And looking in contrast, boxing is among the violent sports as the blood and knockouts are often seen in it. Therefore, for many people, it may be shocking to hear that Mandela was actually a fan of boxing. Not only a fan, but he also enrolled himself into the sport and was a heavyweight boxer. You may like to pick up The long Walk to Freedom and turn to page 193 in order to see his own words regarding his interest in the sport.
Why he liked boxing?
It is pretty shocking that Mandela was into such sport. However, he justifies his love for the boxing in his book. According to Mandela, he was not a fan of violence that boxing offered. He never liked that side of boxing. Yet, the self-defense that boxing teaches was amazing for him. He was much into the fact that when a person is in the ring, he has to move continuously for his own protection. And while moving, he has to wait for the appropriate time; a time when he can move from defense to attack; a time when he has to fire or else he will lose the game; and after firing, one has to retreat in boxing was just stunning.
Secondly, he writes that boxing “is egalitarian.” Now, what does egalitarian mean? Well, according to the dictionary, it means “socially equal.” Here, a question may pop up in your mind that how it can be socially equal as the boxers are professionals and a bit different from separate people. It applies to a boxer. When you are in a ring, your age or color does not matter. When the bell rings, there is no color. No one remembers how wealthy you are. All these things become irrelevant here. And this was what Mandela was promoting. He spent his life ensuring that each and every human being has equal rights.
His in-ring performances
How successful was Nelson Mandela as boxer? According to Mandela, he stepped into the ring and had a few fights. He was a part of Heavy Weight category at Fort Hare. The interest was at its peak when he was living in Johannesburg. As far as the boxing skills were concerned, that were not exceptional. Both power and speed that Mandela had were questionable as he writes in his biography that neither the power was enough to make up for the lack of speed nor the speed was lightning so that he can cover up the power factor. He was into the sports until he entered politics.
What was he interested in the most?
Mandela states that his main interest was in training. He was more a fan of the workouts that he had to do in order to be a boxer. We all know that the training that one has to go through takes a lot of doing. However, for Mandela, it was a way to take out the tension and stress. According to his words, he felt light physically as well as mentally after the completion of exercises. He wakes up next morning feeling a bit more refreshed and more energetic for the regular chores.
What followed boxing?
Mandela, in his book, stated that he left boxing as soon as he stepped into politics. When he started his political work, he was becoming really popular. That was not in favor of the opposition that jailed Mandela for his role as a leader. However, it was later outlawed, and he was released. From there, he kept on doing his work and became the president of the country.
If you are interested to find more about Nelson Mandela, there is nothing better than reading his autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom. It puts light on various factors of the life of Mandela. From his struggles to his careers to his personal life, everything is mentioned there. However, a few people argue that the later chapters of his book are written by a ghostwriter who was a US journalist. Even The Times of London also report that Mandela began working on another set of memories while the last chapters of the first book were written by a US journalist.
So, the above is everything that you need to know about Nelson Mandela as a boxer. Although he was never a great boxer but when it comes to leadership, he was remarkable and gifted. He had been influencing people around him with his words and even today, many people take Mandela as an inspiration and wish to do something exceptional for the ones that are around them. So, you may question his in-ring abilities, but you can never put a question on the leadership qualities and philanthropist skills of Mandela. He shocked the world by dismantling the apartheid legacy and tackled the racism with some force. Today, due to his work, the people of Africa are able to live a happy life as they enjoy equal rights.