Former South Africa President, Nelson Mandela Dead at 95

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We take a moment to look back at Nelson Mandela’s life. He died in Johannesburg after a long fight with illness.

Nelson Mandela in 1950. Photograph courtesy Apic-Hulton Archieve via Getty Images, NBC News
Nelson Mandela in 1950. Photograph courtesy Apic-Hulton Archieve via Getty Images, NBC News




JOHANNESBERG, South Africa– Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa in 1918.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Fort Hare. He would later study law at the University of Witwatersrand.

In 1948, the National Party came to power and started implementing the apartheid.

*Apartheid was a system of racial segregation enforced through legislation.

Mandela started practicing law in 1952. He co-founded the first black law firm in South Africa, Mandela and Tambo.

The response to the apartheid was the African National Congress (ANC) and Mandela became a key revolutionary in the anti-apartheid.

In 1955, he and 155 other activists were put on trial for treason but were later acquitted in 1961.

Soon later in 1964, him and eight members of the ANC stood trial for plotting to overthrow the government. He was sentenced to life in prison. After serving 27 years in prison, he was released in 1990.

The years in prison were transformative, leading Mandela to be the most significant black leader in South Africa’s history. He became the first black president in 1994.

He served as president from 1994-1999. One major accomplishment was using the nation’s love for sports to heal the relationship between whites and blacks, asking people to support the once-hated national rugby team. This was portrayed in the 2009 movie “Invictus”.

In 1993, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin.

He is held in extreme, deep respect in South Africa. He is known as “Madiba”, which means father.

Updated December 6, 2013

Madiba will be laid to rest on December 15 in Qunu, the Eastern Cape province. From December 11-13, he will lie in the Union Buildings in Pretoria where he served as President. During this time official memorial services will be held in all provinces and regions. The official memorial service will take place on December 10 at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

Famous Nelson Mandela Quotes

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

“They can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

“It always seems impossible until its done.”

“For to be free is not merely to case off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Nelson Mandela will be missed. Rest in peace, Madiba.

Mandela in 2008. Photo courtesy
Mandela in 2008. Photo courtesy


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