Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013) was a revolutionary, philanthropist and the first black President of South Africa. Born to the royal family of a Xhosa tribe, the young Mandela was educated at Fort Hare University and joined the African National Congress. Working as a lawyer in Johannesburg, he became part of the South African Communist Party, formed a militant movement and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1962. After serving 27 years in prison, most notably on the infamous Robben Island, he was released in 1990 and led the ANC to victory in South Africa’s first multi-racial elections after negotiating with then-president FW de Klerk to abolish apartheid.
He served only one term as President, and thereafter became an elder statesman, attempting to combat poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation right until his death in December 2013. Though denounced as a communist terrorist by many, he received over two hundred and fifty honours, including the Soviet Order of Lenin and the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, and was known as ‘the founding father of democracy’.
- He was one of the leading figures in dismantling Apartheid and clearing up after it.
- He called for basic human and civil rights to be upheld throughout the globe.
- He spoke out against ‘western attempts to police the world’ and acted as mediator between many countries in conflicts.
This story can be seen in our latest print edition available now BeepVersion2