Nelson Mandela: surprising facts you probably didn’t know – CNN

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  1. He was on the U.S. terror watch list: Mandela wasn’t removed from the U.S. terror watch list until 2008 — at age 89. He and other members of the African National Congress were placed on it because of their militant fight against apartheid.
  2. He had a cameo in a Spike Lee film: He had a bit part in Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic “Malcolm X.” At the very end of the movie, he plays a teacher reciting Malcolm X’s famous speech to a room full of Soweto school kids. But the pacifist Mandela wouldn’t say “by any means necessary.” So Lee cut back to a footage of Malcolm X to close out the film.
  3. He lived up to his name: Mandela’s birth name was Rolihlahla. In Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa, “Rolihlahla” means “pulling the branch of a tree” — or, troublemaker. (The name “Nelson” was given to him by his teacher on his first day of elementary school. It’s not clear why she chose that particular name. It was the early 1920s, and African children were given English names so British colonials could pronounce them easily).

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