Nelson Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the country’s first black head of state. He is remembered for his work in ending apartheid, and for his dedication to human rights and democracy. Mandela is an iconic figure in South Africa, and his legacy continues to inspire people around the world.
Nelson Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Prior to his election as president, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and spent 27 years in prison for his political beliefs.
Mandela was born in 1918 in the village of Mvezo in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. He was the son of a tribal chief, and was educated at mission schools before studying law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand.
Mandela became involved in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1940s, and joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943. He rose to prominence in the ANC’s struggle against white minority rule, and was arrested and imprisoned several times for his political activities.
In 1962, Mandela was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in sabotaging the South African government. He spent the next 27 years in prison, during which time he became the world’s most famous political prisoner.
Mandela was released from prison in 1990, and he immediately resumed his work for the ANC. In 1991, he was elected president of the ANC, and in 1994 he was elected President of South Africa in the country’s first democratic elections.
As president, Mandela worked to promote reconciliation and unity among the country’s different racial groups. He also presided over the enactment of a new constitution which guaranteed equal rights for all South Africans. He retired from politics in 1999, and died in 2013 at the age of 95.