From Boxing Belts to Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela Was Honoured With Countless Gifts for His Activism

From Boxing Belts to Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela Was Honoured With Countless Gifts for His Activism

Nelson Rolihlahla "Madiba" Mandela is one of the most celebrated political figures in history. The first South African democratic president was presented with gifts from many people who loved and adored him.

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The legendary Nelson Mandela was a well-known figure before he was sent to prison on Robben Island, where he spent 27 years behind bars. While in prison, Mandela became one of the most famous political prisoners to have ever lived.

Nelson Mandela, Noble Peace Prize
Nelson Mandela has earned a number of honourary prizes over the years. Images: Al Pereira/WireImage & David Levenson
Source: Getty Images

Madiba advocated for South Africa's liberation and stood firm against the laws of apartheid, which made him a noticeable figure in many parts of the world.

It is no surprise that uTata Madiba was gifted for his contributions with honorary doctorate degrees from various prestigious universities, had streets named after him and even received some bizarre gifts that he seemingly loved.

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Madiba had even captured the hearts of many young children, who would often gift him pictures they had drawn in his honour. Briefly News looks at some of the most notable and bizarre gifts the late Mandela received while he was alive.

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1. Nobel Peace Prize

In 1993, Mandela and the last apartheid president, FW De Klerk, became Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The award was given to them for their contributions to the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, according to the Nobel Peace Prize website.

Nelson Mandela, FW De Klerk
Nelson Mandela and FW De Klerk were both awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Image: David Levenson
Source: Getty Images

Mandela and De Klerk were also recognised for laying the foundations for a democratically-run South Africa.

2. Nelson Mandela's honorary doctorates

Madiba was a firm believer in pursuing an education. He started his quest for a university education by attending Fort Hare Univerisity in the Eastern Cape. He then went to the University of Witswatersrand to pursue a law degree. However, he did not finish his studies at the time.

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Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela is a recipient of over 120 honorary degrees from universities across the globe. Image: Timothy A. CLARY
Source: Getty Images

Following his imprisonment in 1962, Mandela resumed his law degree at the University of London and was not able to complete it again. In 1989, he was finally able to obtain a law degree from the University of South Africa, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Madiba received around 126 honorary degrees from various universities, such as Oxford University, Princeton University, Harvard University and some much more. His honorary doctorates ranged from doctorates of Laws, Public Service, Education, Public Policy and International Laws.

3. Nelson Mandela's short boxing career gets recognised

Aside from pursuing a career in law and politics, Madiba had a short stint as an amateur boxer. Although uTata never won a fight, he was gifted a championship boxing belt by American boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard during his first visit to South Africa.

Leonard gave him the boxing belt shortly after Madiba was released from prison in 1990. According to CBSNews, uTata revered his gift from the boxing legend.

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Nelson Mandela, Joe Frazier
Nelson Mandela was gifted two boxing championship belts by famous boxers Sugar Ray Leonard and Joe Frazier. Image: Al Pereira/WireImage
Source: Getty Images

The boxing belt was displayed at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Soweto and was unfortunately stolen in early July 2022, according to EWN. Unfortunately, the theft was only discovered after the museum staff began with preparations for Mandela Month.

That was not the only boxing belt Madiba was gifted. In 1992, boxer Joe Frazier gave Madiba his heavyweight boxing belt during his SA visit.

4. Michelle Obama gifts Nelson Mandela a strange statue

The former first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, had the pleasure of meeting Madiba when she came to South Africa for her first visit in 2011.

Obama gave Mandela a three-armed bronze of Dr Martin Luther King, according to SowetanLIVE. There is no indication of what the gift signifies. However, it is safe to assume that Obama gave him the gift because King was a prominent human rights activist like Madiba.

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5. Madiba received many gifts from famous people

Madiba was loved by many famous people such as music legend Micheal Jackson, supermodel Naomi Campbell and the most notable talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

They loved Madiba and did a lot of things in his honour. They either gave him sweet gifts like a personalised birthday cake Jackson commissioned for uTata's birthday or Campbell's gift of stripping for GQ magazine in his honour. The proceeds for the photoshoot were given to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela
Globally acclaimed talk show host Oprah Winfrey honoured the late Nelson Mandela by building a prestigious school for girls in South Africa. Image: Media24/Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images

Oprah kept her promise to Madiba and built a prestigious school for girls in South Africa, a rather sweet gift considering Madiba's passion for education, reports the Washington Post.

The former British prime minister Tony Blair reportedly gifted Madiba a yellow and black pottery bowl, which he reportedly loved. Mandela also enjoyed Fidel Castro's gifts of rum and cigars.

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6. Some of the artistic gifts given to Nelson Mandela

Madiba has had countless people gift him with portraits and other artistic images of himself. Some of the most notable of these images are from Johnathan Shapiro, a cartoonist who goes by the name Zapiro.

According to Curiosity, a publication by Wits, Zapiro gave his interpretations of Madiba in his cartoons, often drawn with disproportional faces. Madiba and Zapiro seemingly had a close relationship, even though the cartoonist was often critical.

Artists have drawn murals of Madiba and built statues in honour of him, in many parts of the world, including Paris, Los Angeles and even England. However, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Verne Harris told Curiosity that at some point, Madiba asked that no more statues of him be erected.

The Late Nelson Mandela's grandchildren live by his principles and are continuing his amazing legacy

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Briefly News previously reported that The late Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela cemented himself as an honourary figure in history. His legacy involves being the first president to be democratically elected president in South Africa following years of apartheid rule.

Mandela served 27 years in prison at Robben Island offshore of Cape Town. Upon his release and becoming president, uTata Madiba dedicated himself to his country and philanthropy across the globe.

Even after his death, Mandela's legacy lives on in his grandchildren, who live by his principles and advocate for those who do not have the means to do so for themselves.

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Source: Briefly News

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