Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela – From Prisoner to President

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who became the first black president of South Africa. Born in 1918, Mandela grew up in a country where racial segregation was enforced by law. He spent 27 years in prison for his activism before being released and leading his country to democracy.

Early Life

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in the village of Mvezo, in South Africa. He was educated at a Methodist mission school and went on to study law at the University of Fort Hare. Mandela became involved in anti-apartheid activism while still a student, and joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944.

Political Activism

Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANC, becoming a leader in the movement against apartheid. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism on several occasions, and in 1964, he was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Rivonia Trial. Mandela spent 27 years in prison, most of them on Robben Island before being released in 1990.


After his release from prison, Mandela played a key role in the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid and the establishment of democracy in South Africa. In 1994, he became the first black president of South Africa, serving one term before retiring from politics in 1999.


After his retirement, Mandela continued his activism and philanthropy, founding the Nelson Mandela Foundation to promote education, health, and rural development in South Africa. He also worked on HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and was a vocal advocate for peace and reconciliation in Africa and around the world.


Nelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013, in Johannesburg, South Africa. He left behind a legacy of courage, leadership, and social justice that continues to inspire people around the world. His commitment to democracy and human rights, and his dedication to reconciliation and forgiveness, have made him one of the most respected and beloved leaders of our time.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thurgood Marshall