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Nelson Mandela: Six things you didn’t know

[ 2013-12-25 09:42] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Nelson Mandela was a figure of international renown, and many details of his life and career were public knowledge. But here are six things you may not have known about the late South African leader.

1. He was a boxing fan.

In his youth, Nelson Mandela enjoyed boxing and long-distance running. Even during the 27 years he spent in prison, he would exercise every morning.

"I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it. I was intrigued by how one moved one's body to protect oneself, how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced oneself over a match," he wrote in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom.

"Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, colour and wealth are irrelevant... I never did any real fighting after I entered politics. My main interest was in training; I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress. After a strenuous workout, I felt both mentally and physically lighter," he wrote.

Among the memorabilia in the Mandela Family Museum in Soweto, visitors can find the world championship belt given to Mandela by American boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

2. His original name was not Nelson.

Rolihlahla Mandela was nine years old when a teacher at the primary Methodist school where he was studying in Qunu, South Africa, gave him an English name - Nelson - in accordance with the custom to give all school children Christian names.

This was common practice in South Africa and in other parts of the continent, where a person could often be given an English name that foreigners would find easier to pronounce.

Rolihlahla is not a common name in South Africa. It is Xhosa, one of the 11 official languages in the country, spoken by about 18% of the population. It literally means "pulling the branch of a tree", but its colloquial meaning is "troublemaker".

His circumcision name was Dalibunga, meaning "founder of the Bunga", the traditional ruling body of the Transkei - the rural area where he was born. "To Xhosa traditionalists, this name is more acceptable than either of my two previous given names," he wrote in his autobiography. However, in South Africa, Mr Mandela was often called by his clan name - Madiba - which South Africans used out of respect.

3. He was on a US terror watch list until 2008.

Prior to that, along with other former ANC leaders, Mr Mandela was only able to visit the US with special permission from the secretary of state, because the ANC had been designated a terrorist organisation by South Africa's former apartheid government.

Ronald Reagan originally placed the ANC on the list in the 1980s.

"It is frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterparts - the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader, Nelson Mandela," then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in 2008.

The bill scrapping the designation was introduced by Howard Berman, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who promised to "wipe away" the "indignity".

4. He forgot his glasses when he was released from prison.

Mr Mandela's release on 11 February 1990 followed years of political pressure against apartheid. On the day, he was "astounded and a little bit alarmed", he recalled later.

Mr Mandela's reading glasses stayed behind in prison Mr Mandela and his then-wife Winnie were taken to the centre of Cape Town to address a huge and euphoric crowd. But when he pulled out the text of his speech, he realised he had forgotten his glasses and had to borrow Winnie's.

5. He dressed up as a chauffeur to evade police.

After going underground because of his ANC activities, Mr Mandela's ability to evade the securities services earned him the nickname "the black Pimpernel", after the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel, about a hero with a secret identity.

A fake passport in the name of David Motsamayi used by Mr Mandela Mr Mandela is known to have disguised himself as a chauffeur, a gardener and a chef in order to travel around the country unnoticed by the authorities. Nobody seems to know how Mr Mandela, who had been operating underground with a false identity, was ultimately exposed and arrested.

6. He had his own law firm, but it took him years to get a law degree.

Mr Mandela studied law on and off for 50 years from 1939, failing about half the courses he took.

A two-year diploma in law on top of his university degree allowed him to practise, and in August 1952, he and Oliver Tambo established South Africa's first black law firm, Mandela and Tambo, in Johannesburg.

He persevered to finally secure a law degree while in prison in 1989.



1. 他是个拳击迷。


“我更喜欢拳击的技巧而非暴力。我对如何移动身体保护自己、如何利用战术进攻和后退、如何在比赛中把握自己的节奏感兴趣,”他在自传《 漫漫自由路》中写道。


索韦托的曼德拉家族博物馆保存着许多纪念物,参观者会在其中发现一条拳击世界冠军的腰带,这是美国拳击名宿雷纳德(Sugar Ray Leonard)赠予曼德拉的。

2. 他最初的名字不叫纳尔逊,而是罗利赫拉赫拉·曼德拉(Rolihlahla Mandela )。





3. 他的大名直到2008年一直列在美国恐怖分子观察名单上。





4. 曼德拉被从监狱释放时忘了带眼镜。



5. 他曾穿上司机制服逃避警察。

非洲民族议会的活动遭到禁止后,他被迫转入地下活动。曼德拉躲避治安部队搜捕的能力为他赢得了“黑色繁笺花”的雅号,因为当时流行一部小说,《腥红色的繁笺花》(Scarlet Pimpernel),书中的男主人公就是一位有着秘密身份的地下英雄。


6. 尽管他拥有自己的律师事务所,但他花了半个世纪才获得法学学位。




(译者 sxdns717 编辑 丹妮)