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Nelson Mandela

About Nelson Mandela

An Interview with Nelson Mandela

More About Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 to one of the royal families of the Transkei, the eldest son of a Temba chief. He studied at the University of Fort Hare until he was expelled for participating in a student protest. After moving to Johannesburg he completed his arts degree by correspondence with the University of South Africa in 1942 and then studied law at the University of  Witwatersrand. He joined the African National Congress in 1942.

After the National Party came to power in 1948 and inplemented apartheid, Mandela became one of the four deputy presidents of the ANC and took part in its Defiance Campaign of 1952. He was charged with treason in 1956, but acquitted after a five-year trial. His charisma and planning underpinned everything the ANC did in the crucial years up to 1963, when he was arrested, tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.

He spent the next eighteen years in the maximum-security prison for political prisoners on Robben Island, and later moved to Pollsmoor Prison. While in prison he became a potent symbol for the anti-apartheid movement. In response to increasing domestic and international pressure he was finally freed on 11 February 1990 and the ban against the ANC was lifted. He became leader of the ANC and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In 1994, when South Africa held its first multiracial elections, Mandela became president and led the country until he stepped down in 1999.

Nobel Peace Prize

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