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Was Nelson Mandela a Communist?

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Quick Answer

Nelson Mandela denies ever being a member of the Communist party. The apartheid government of South Africa claimed he was a communist in an attempt to ruin his reputation. A book published in 2012 presented minutes from a Communist party meeting that indicated Mandela had been a member.

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Full Answer

The 2012 book by Stephen Ellis cites minutes from a secret 1982 South African Communist Party meeting in which one member refers to Mandela by name as being a party member in the early 1960s just prior to his prison sentence. Mandela disavows all membership in the party, however, and as a political leader, he helped usher in South Africa's present democratic system as its first elected president.

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