Mandela 'War on Want' Jigsaws

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Afr. s. 2296
  • Dates of Creation
      20th century
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      2 items. The jigaws are housed in shrink-wrapped packaging with a flat-packed box.

Scope and Content

War on Want jigsaws, one with an artist's impression of Nelson Mandela against a background of the African National Congress flag, the other of Winnie Mandela.

Administrative / Biographical History

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born at Qunu, near Umtata, Transkei in 1918.His father, Henry Mgadla Mandela, was chief council to the acting paramountchief of Thembuland. When his father died, Mandela became the chief's wardand was groomed for the chieftainship. Starting a BA degree at Fort Hare, hewas expelled for participation in a student strike in 1940, completing his courseby correspondence from Johannesburg before taking his articles of clerkshipand enrolling for an LLB at the University of Witwatersrand.

Having joined the African National Congress (ANC), he helped found theANC Youth League in 1944, becoming its Secretary, 1948 and President,1950. He was elected National Volunteer-in-Chief of the 1952 DefianceCampaign, for his part in which he was given a suspended sentence andbanning order confining him to Johannesburg for six months. During this period,he restructured ANC branches into underground cells. By the same year,Mandela and Oliver Tambo (who had also been expelled from Fort Hare in1940) had founded South Africa's first black law firm, while Mandela waselected the ANC's Transvaal President and Deputy Mational President.

In the 1950s, constant bannings forced him to resign officially from the ANC.At this time, his attention turned to analysing the struggles against theexploitation of labour, the pass laws, the Government's Bantustan policy, andthe segregation of open universities, while at the same time helping to conductthe defence (for himself and others) in the treason trial of 1956-1961. He waseventually acquitted. However, in 1960, after the Sharpeville massacre, theANC was banned and the organisation's military wing (Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK)) was born. Under Mandela's leadership, it conducted a campaign ofsabotage against government and economic targets. Having left the countryillegally in 1962 for military training in Algeria, and to arrange training for othermembers of the MK, he was arrested on his return, convicted, and jailed forfive years.

While in prison, he was charged, in the Rivonia trial, with sabotage, and hissentence changed to life. Having spoken out in the 1950s against the idea ofBantu education, he made Robben Island, where he was imprisoned, a centrefor learning, taking a central role in organised political education classes.Through the 1970s and 1980s he refused offers of freedom from theGovernment in return for renouncing violence, etc., though on his release on11th February 1990, he agreed to the suspension of armed struggle.

After his release, he was elected Deputy President of the ANC, 1990-1991and President, 1991-1997. He served as President of South Africa,1994-1999, before retiring from public life to return to his birthplace inTranskei.

Mandela holds honorary degrees from various UK universities and was madeHonorary QC, 2000. He was given the Jawaharlal Nehru Award, India, 1979,the Simon Bolivar Prize, UNESCO, 1983, the Sakharov Prize, 1988, and theNobel Peace Prize (with F.W. De Klerk), 1993. He is the author of No easywalk to freedom. articles, speeches and trial addresses , ed. Ruth First(London, Heinemann, 1965) and Long Walk to Freedom (London, Little,Brown, 1994). He has been married twice, to Winnie Mandela (marriagedissolved, 1996), with whom he had two daughters, and in 1998 to Graca,widow of Samora Machel.

The War on Want campaign was founded by Victor Gollancz and Harold Wilson in 1951 after a letter by the former to The Guardian calling for a negotiated end to the Korean War and the creation of an international fund for world development. Shortly afterwards, the Association for World Peace was formed, commissioning Harold Wilson and others to publish a plan for world development entitled War on Want.

Since its inception, War on Want has headed a number of debates, campaigns, etc., including on the marketing of powdered milk in the developing world in the 1970s, the role of women in third world countries and liberation movements in Eritrea, South Africa and the Western Sahara in the 1980s, and issues of globalisation in the 1990s.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

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No reproduction or publication of papers without permission. Contact thelibrary in the first instance.

Related Material

Latin copy of diploma awarded to Nelson Mandela by the University of Oxford, 1996 and order of ceremony for Mandela's visit to Oxford, 1997, with transcripts of the diploma in Latin and English (ref. MSS. Afr. t. 54).

Corporate Names