Nelson Mandela Daily Routine

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

Exercise Before Sunrise

Waking up at 5 a.m., Mandela began his day with an hour-long exercise routine. During his time in prison, his exercise routine was very intense and consisted of stationary running, 100 finger push-ups, 200 sit-ups, and various other calisthenics. He would do this Monday through Thursday and rest for the next three days. As he got older, he reduced the intensity of his workouts.

Nelson-mandela-boxing-1222 Day in the Life: Nelson Mandela

Mandela considered boxing had as a form of exercise that he could use to channel his energy. Four mornings a week, he would go on a run, and three evenings a week, he would box at a Soweto boxing gym. Mandela carried out regular exercise not only to stay physically fit, but also to combat the mental hurdles that he faced every day.

Short and Sweet Meals

For breakfast, Mandela ate cereal and a bowl of fruit. From his time in prison, he developed the habit of eating and drinking small quantities. For lunch, he would have something simple like chicken and rice. Despite being a world traveler, he had a great love for traditional African cuisine. His personal chef recounts his three favorite dishes, which were citrus pudding, orange turkey, and peanut butter and spinach soup. If you are curious about more of the delicious foods that made their way into the belly of this incredible leader, check out Ukutya Kwasekhaya, a cookbook that contains more than 60 of Mandela’s favorite recipes.

Presidential Responsibilities

Mandela was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Starting his workday around 6 a.m., Mandela prepared himself for a long and productive day filled with interviews, foreign and local delegations, and potential peace treaties. His Falcon 900 aircraft took him to different regions and offices to meet diplomats and even civilians.

As the first Black head of state and the first Black president, he worked on reversing the harm that the Apartheid had done; to do this, he established the Reconstruction and Development Programme. He worked on rebuilding the economy, removing the social and racial disparities, and creating more job opportunities. This work propelled him into international media, so he gave many interviews to the press and made several public appearances.

Bill-Clinton-with-Nelson-Mandela Day in the Life: Nelson Mandela

He found a way to give exercise a purpose through his presidential duties. Sports were used to find reconciliation between Black people and White people. His support and encouragement brought the 1995 Rugby World Cup to South Africa. It was the first sporting event held in South Africa after Apartheid.

A Charitable Soul

During his presidency, he established the President’s Fund with a hefty contribution from his own salary. The Fund’s purpose is to help with building and supporting programs that provide aid to children and minorities. He later founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation after stepping down from his position as President of South Africa.

Family in the Evening

AP_nelson_mandela_family_nt_130628_16x9_992 Day in the Life: Nelson Mandela

After a long day at work, Mandela would fly back home to spend time with his large family. His family and friends were vital to his existence, and he eventually retired from the public eye in 2004 to lead a private and quiet life. The brave and relentless spirit he held pushed him to live his life as he wished. Mandela passed away in 2013 at the age of 95, but he left behind his message of political action against injustice. Seeing the smile on his face and his fist lifted in the air reminds me to keep speaking up even when it seems like there is no hope. We will eventually attain a world that understands everyone’s social, economic, and health needs.