photo credits: CC-BY-2.0
former President of South Africa, anti-apartheid activistwd:Q8023
country of citizenship:
native language: Xhosa
language of expression: English, Xhosa
educated at: University of the Witwatersrand, University of Fort Hare, University of South Africa, University of London
occupation: politician, autobiographer, lawyer, political activist
award received: Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, Nobel Peace Prize, Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia, Grandmaster of the Order of Good Hope, Platinum Order of Mapungubwe, Gold Olympic Order, Order of Lenin, Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Grand Cross of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Order of the Elephant, Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav, Royal Order of the Seraphim, Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, 1st class, Order of Merit, Order of Saint John, honorary Canadian citizenship, Lenin Peace Prize, Sakharov Prize, Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada, Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, Order of Augusto César Sandino, Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, Bruno Kreisky Award for Services to Human Rights, United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize, Four Freedoms Award - Freedom Medal, Philadelphia Liberty Medal, Bharat Ratna, Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, Giuseppe Motta Medal, Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, Ahimsa Award, Delta Prize for Global Understanding, Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry, Ambassador of Conscience Award, Congressional Gold Medal, Order of the Nile, Order of Friendship, Fulbright Prize, Gandhi Peace Prize, International Simón Bolívar Prize, Order of Friendship, Star of People's Friendship, honorary doctor of the University of Madrid Complutense, Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo, Isitwalandwe Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, Order of Stara Planina, Nishan-e-Pakistan, Order of Playa Girón, Hungarian Order of Merit, Order of José Martí, Order of Jamaica, Order of the Star of Ghana, Order of the Smile, Ordre Agostinho Neto, honorary doctor of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, honorary citizen of Paris, honorary doctorate of the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Alan Paton Award, honorary doctor of the University of Hong Kong, honorary doctor of the Peking University, Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty, hedersdoktor vid Karolinska Institutet
position held: President of South Africa, Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as the president of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.
A Xhosa, Mandela was born to the Thembu royal family in Mvezo, Union of South Africa. He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg. There he became involved in anti-colonial and African nationalist politics, joining the ANC in 1943 and co-founding its Youth League in 1944. After the National Party's white-only government established apartheid, a system of racial segregation that privileged whites, he and the ANC committed themselves to its overthrow. Mandela was appointed President of the ANC's Transvaal branch, rising to prominence for his involvement in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People. He was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the 1956 Treason Trial. Influenced by Marxism, he secretly joined the banned South African Communist Party (SACP). Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the SACP he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961 and led a sabotage campaign against the government. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1962, and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state following the Rivonia Trial.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison. Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990. Mandela and de Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president. Leading a broad coalition government which promulgated a new constitution, Mandela emphasised reconciliation between the country's racial groups and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. Economically, Mandela's administration retained its predecessor's liberal framework despite his own socialist beliefs, also introducing measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial and served as Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999. He declined a second presidential term, and in 1999 was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman and focused on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the charitable Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Although critics on the right denounced him as a communist terrorist and those on the far-left deemed him too eager to negotiate and reconcile with apartheid's supporters, he gained international acclaim for his activism. Widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice, he received more than 250 honours—including the Nobel Peace Prize—and became the subject of a cult of personality. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, and described as the "Father of the Nation".
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book, compilation of works by Nelson Mandelawd:Q16272231