Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, activist, lawyer, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Nelson Mandela was born in 1918. When Mandela was growing up, black people had little say in how South Africa was run. The government was whites only. Most black people were poor. They worked as servants. They worked on farms, and in factories and gold mines. In 1944, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress or ANC. The ANC wanted black South Africans to have the same human rights as whites. In 1948, the South African government made new laws to keep white people and black people apart. The new system was called ‘apartheid’. A white person and a black person could not marry. Black people and white people could not share a table in a restaurant, or sit together on a bus. Black children and white children went to different schools. Sports teams were all-white or all-black, never mixed.
He was in prison from 1962 to 1990. He became President of South Africa in 1994, and retired in 1999. He was South Africa’s first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997.
Nelson Mandela was the first black President of South Africa. He spent 27 years in prison for trying to overthrow the pro-apartheid government. After he left prison, he worked to achieve human rights and a better future for everyone in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela became famous for his long fight against bad government and racial prejudice. He became a hero to people all over the world. As South Africa’s President, he was respected for his courage and wisdom in bringing people together to live in peace.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with FW de Klerk, then president of South Africa, in 1993.
Nelson Mandela’s final moments were spent off a life support machine, with his wife, Grcaa Machel, and his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at his bedside, witnesses have said. The former president died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, at 8.50pm on Thursday,sending millions into mourning in South Africa and around the world. Nelson Mandela died on 5 December 2013 following a lung illness.