Considered one of the greatest leaders to emerge from the continent of Africa, Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as the first Black President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was born in Mvezo, a village in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, and grew up in the nearby town of Qunu in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.
Mandela became involved in anti-apartheid activism early in his life, joining the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 and later co-founding its Youth League. He became a prominent leader of the ANC and its armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, and was imprisoned for 27 years for his role in the struggle against apartheid.
During his imprisonment, Mandela became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement and was internationally recognized as a hero and a symbol of resistance against injustice. He was released in 1990 after negotiations with the South African government and played a leading role in the transition to multi-racial democracy in South Africa.
Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his work in ending apartheid and promoting reconciliation between different racial groups in South Africa. It’s no wonder he came to be described as the “Father of the Nation”.
Often referred to by his Thembu clan name, Madiba, Mandela etched his name as one of the most important figures of the 20th century, and his legacy continues to serve as an inspiration to countless people around the world who work for social justice and equality.