Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (/mænˈdɛlə/;; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid...

A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he...

Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international...

Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Denounced as a communist terrorist by critics, he nevertheless gained international acclaim for his activism, having received...

Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then a part of South Africa's Cape Province. in later years he...

"No one in my family had ever attended school On the first day of school my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British...

Later stating that his early life was dominated by "custom, ritual and taboo", Mandela grew up with two sisters in his mother's kraal in the village of Qunu, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time...

His mother took Mandela to the "Great Place" palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted under the guardianship of Thembu regent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again for many years, Mandela...

Intending to gain skills needed to become a privy councillor for the Thembu royal house, Mandela began his secondary education at...

With Jongintaba's backing, Mandela began work on a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at the University of Fort Hare, an elite black institution in Alice, Eastern Cape, with around 150 students. There...

Returning to Mqhekezweni in December 1940, Mandela found that Jongintaba had arranged marriages for him and Justice; dismayed, they fled to Johannesburg via Queenstown, arriving in April...

Earning a small wage, Mandela rented a room in the house of the Xhoma family in the Alexandra township; although rife...

Beginning law studies at the University of Witwatersrand, Mandela was the only native African student, and though facing racism, he befriended liberal and...

At Sisulu's house, Mandela met Evelyn Mase, an ANC activist from Engcobo, Transkei, who was training at the time to become a nurse. Married on 5...

In July 1947, Mandela rushed Lembede, who was ill, to hospital, where he died; he was succeeded as ANCYL president by the more moderate Peter Mda, who agreed...

In the South African general election, 1948, in which only whites were permitted to vote, the Afrikaner-dominated Herenigde Nasionale...

Mandela took Xuma's place on the ANC National Executive in March 1950. That month, the Defend Free Speech...

In 1952, the ANC began preparation for a joint Defiance Campaign against apartheid with Indian and communist groups, founding a National Voluntary Board to recruit volunteers. Deciding on a path of...

On 30 July 1952, Mandela was arrested under the Suppression of Communism Act and stood trial as a part of...

Mandela obtained work as an attorney for the firm Terblanche and Briggish, before moving to the liberal-run Helman and Michel, passing...

"We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:...

Mandela came to the opinion that the ANC "had no alternative to armed and violent resistance" after taking part in the unsuccessful protest to prevent the demolition of the...

Following the end of a second ban in September 1955, Mandela went on a working holiday to Transkei to discuss the implications of the Bantu Authorities Act, 1951 with local tribal leaders, also visiting his mother...

On 5 December 1956, Mandela was arrested alongside most of the ANC Executive for "high treason" against the...

In April 1959, militant Africanists dissatisfied with the ANC's united front approach founded the Pan-African Congress (PAC);...

Disguised as a chauffeur, Mandela travelled the country incognito, organising the ANC's new cell structure and a mass stay-at-home strike...

Inspired by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement in the Cuban Revolution, in 1961 Mandela co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation", abbreviated MK) with the long-time leader of the South African Communist Party...

Operating through a cell structure, MK agreed to acts of sabotage to exert maximum pressure on the government with minimum casualties, bombing military installations, power plants,...

The ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central...

On 5 August 1962, police captured Mandela along with Cecil Williams near Howick. A large number of groups have been accused of having tipped off the police about Mandela's whereabouts including Mandela's host in...

"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony...

On 11 July 1963, police raided Liliesleaf Farm, arresting those they found there and uncovering paperwork documenting MK's activities, some of which mentioned...

With the exception of James Kantor, who was innocent of all charges, Mandela and the accused admitted sabotage but denied that they had ever agreed to initiate guerilla...

Mandela and his co-accused were transferred from Pretoria to the prison on Robben Island, remaining there for the next 18 years. Isolated from non-political prisoners in Section B, Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell...

The political prisoners took part in work and hunger strikes – the latter considered largely ineffective by Mandela – to improve prison conditions, viewing this as a...

From 1967, prison conditions improved; black prisoners were given trousers rather than shorts, games were permitted, and the standard of their food...

By 1975, Mandela had become a Class A prisoner, That year, he began his...

By the late 1960s, Mandela's fame had been eclipsed by Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). Seeing the ANC as ineffectual, the BCM called for militant action,...

In April 1982 Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, Cape Town along with senior ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, Andrew...

Violence across the country escalated, with many fearing civil war. Under pressure from an international lobby,...

In 1985 Mandela underwent surgery on an enlarged prostate gland, before being given new solitary quarters on the ground...

Mandela's 70th birthday in July 1988 attracted international attention, notably with the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at London's Wembley Stadium. Although presented globally as a heroic figure, he faced...

Recovering from tuberculosis exacerbated by the dank conditions in his cell, in December 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster...

Leaving Victor Verster on 11 February, Mandela held Winnie's hand in front of amassed crowds and press; the event was broadcast live across the world. Driven to Cape Town's City Hall...

Mandela proceeded on an African tour, meeting supporters and politicians in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Libya and Algeria, continuing...

In May 1990, Mandela led a multiracial ANC delegation into preliminary negotiations with a government delegation of 11 Afrikaner men. Mandela impressed them with his discussions of Afrikaner...

Mandela was given an office in the newly purchased ANC headquarters at Shell House, central Johannesburg, and moved with Winnie to her large Soweto home. Their marriage was increasingly strained as he learned of her affair...

The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began in December 1991 at the Johannesburg World Trade Center, attended by 228 delegates...

Following the Bisho massacre, in which 28 ANC supporters and one soldier were shot dead by the Ciskei Defence Force during a protest march, Mandela realised...

The democratic process was threatened by the Concerned South Africans Group (COSAG), an alliance of far-right Afrikaner parties and black ethnic-secessionist groups like Inkatha; in June 1993, the white supremacist Afrikaner...

With the election set for 27 April 1994, the ANC began campaigning, opening 100 election offices and hiring advisor Stanley Greenberg. Greenberg orchestrated the foundation of...

Concerned that COSAG would undermine the election, particularly in the wake of the Battle of Bop and Shell House...

The newly elected National Assembly's first act was to formally elect Mandela as South Africa's first black chief executive. His inauguration took place in Pretoria on 10 May...

Aged 76, he faced various ailments, and although exhibiting continued energy, he felt isolated and lonely. He often entertained celebrities, such as...

In December 1994, Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was published. In late 1994 he attended the 49th...

Presiding over the transition from apartheid minority rule to a multicultural democracy, Mandela saw national reconciliation as the primary task of his presidency. Having seen other post-colonial...

Mandela personally met with senior figures of the apartheid regime, including Hendrik Verwoerd's widow Betsie Schoombie and the lawyer Percy Yutar; emphasising personal forgiveness and...

Mandela oversaw the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes committed under...

Mandela's administration inherited a country with a huge disparity in wealth and services between white and black communities. Of a population of...

Under Mandela's presidency, welfare spending increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99. The government introduced parity in grants for communities, including disability grants,...

The Land Restitution Act of 1994 enabled people who had lost their property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims. The Land Reform Act 3...

Critics like Edwin Cameron accused Mandela's government of doing little to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country; by 1999, 10% of South Africa's population...

Following the South African example, Mandela encouraged other nations to resolve conflicts through diplomacy and...

In September 1998, Mandela was appointed Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement, who held their annual conference in Durban. He used the event to criticise...

Mandela faced similar criticism from the West for his personal friendships with Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi. Castro visited in 1998, to widespread...

The new Constitution of South Africa was agreed upon by parliament in May 1996, enshrining a series of institutions to check political and administrative authority within a constitutional democracy. De Klerk...

Mandela stepped down as ANC President at the December 1997 conference, and although hoping that Ramaphosa would replace him, the ANC elected Mbeki to the position; Mandela admitted that by then, Mbeki had...

Mandela's relationship with Machel had intensified; in February 1998 he publicly stated that "I'm in love with a remarkable lady", and...

Retiring in June 1999, Mandela sought a quiet family life, to be divided between Johannesburg and Qunu. He set about authoring a sequel to his first...

In 2002, Mandela inaugurated the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, and in 2003 the Mandela Rhodes...

Publicly, Mandela became more vocal in criticising Western powers. He strongly opposed the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo and called it an attempt by...

In June 2004, aged 85 and amid failing health, Mandela announced that he was "retiring from retirement" and retreating from public life, remarking "Don't call me, I will call...

He retained some involvement in international affairs. In 2005, he founded the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust, travelling to the U.S., to speak before the Brookings Institute and the NAACP on the need for economic assistance to...

Mandela's 90th birthday was marked across the country on 18 July 2008, with the main celebrations held at Qunu, In a speech marking...

In 2004, Mandela had successfully campaigned for South Africa to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, declaring that there would be "few better...

In February 2011, he was briefly hospitalised with a respiratory infection, attracting international attention,...

On 22 June 2013, CBS News stated that he had not opened his eyes in days and was unresponsive, and the family was discussing how much medical...

On 4 July, it was reported that David Smith, a lawyer acting on behalf of Mandela family members, claimed in court on 26 June...

After suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection, Mandela died on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95. He died at around...

On 6 December 2013, President Zuma announced a national mourning period of ten days, with the main event...

Mandela was an African nationalist, an ideological position he held since joining the ANC, thereby being "openly opposed to capitalism, private...

In the 1955 Freedom Charter, which Mandela had helped create, it called for the nationalisation of banks, gold mines, and land, believing this necessary to...

Mandela was a private person who often concealed his emotions and confided in very few people....

Mandela was married three times, fathered six children, had 17 grandchildren, He could be stern and demanding of his...

Mandela's second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also came from the Transkei area, although they, too, met...

By the time of his death, Mandela had come to be widely considered "the father of the nation" within South...

Throughout his life, Mandela had also faced criticism. Margaret Thatcher attracted international attention for describing the ANC as "a typical terrorist organisation" in 1987; although she later called on...

On 16 December 2013, Reconciliation Day, a 9-metre-high, bronze statue of Mandela was unveiled at the Union Buildings by President Jacob Zuma. In 2004, Johannesburg granted Mandela the freedom of the...

In 1993, he received the joint Nobel Peace Prize with de Klerk. In November 2009, the United Nations...

Awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom he was also the first living person to...

Many artists have dedicated songs to Mandela. One of the most popular was from The Special AKA who recorded the song "Free Nelson Mandela" in 1983, which Elvis Costello also recorded and had a hit with. Stevie Wonder dedicated his 1985...

Mandela has been depicted in cinema and television on multiple occasions. He was portrayed by Danny Glover in the 1987 HBO telefilm Mandela. The 1997 film Mandela and...


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