Definition of the word “terrorist” is a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.
It is debatable whether this definition is correctly applies to Mandela’s circumstances in the 60s during the struggle for the end of apartheid. It is on record that he actively coordinated sabotage against the government and military establishments, and never advocated unilateral attacks on the Afrikaners or Boers. A testimony that he was for peaceful resolution to end oppression unleashed to Africans who had no freedom to travel on their own land freely.
Having failed in all means to convince the Boers to reach a peaceful agreement to end apartheid, instead he witnessed a spike of severe oppression with no hope on sight his party(ANC) resorted to guerrilla war against the regime. What was wrong to fight for freedom against the enemy who invaded their ancestral land took away their freedom and everything they practiced as people?
It is clear from the history books the Boers were not going to yield an inch and the outside world did not help either other than applying toothless UN sanctions. Common sense dictates that if you welcome a visitor to your home and he turns against you in few weeks then you employ all means available to you to save your home. And anyone who followed chronological events closely that took place in South Africa will not brand Nelson Mandela a terrorist. It also means then all freedom fighters in African countries were terrorists, such as Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya.
The word “terrorist” is improperly applied in this case. Mandela was more of a moral to freedom fighter versus an instigator of malice to murder. If this word was to apply to Mandela’s circumstances then it also has to equally apply to the leaders of Afrikaner’s regime because they massacred innocent civilians using the military.
Fighting for freedom in your own land against an invader imposing rules aimed to oppress with no end should never be called “terrorism.”
Ultimately Mandela came out on top to prove to the whole world freedom was all he ever wanted for the people of South Africa and live together peacefully regardless of color.