Direct quote: "Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa on July 18, 1918. His father Henry Mandela was Chief of the Tembu Tribe. Mandela himself was educated at University College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand and qualified in law in 1942.
He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party's apartheid policies after 1948. He went on trial for treason in 1956-1961 and was acquitted in 1961.
After the banning of the ANC in 1960,he argued for the setting up of a military wing within the ANC. In June 1961, the ANC executive considered his proposal on the use of violent tactics and agreed that those members who wished to involve themselves in his campaign would not be stopped from doing so by the ANC. This led to the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years' imprisonment with hard labour. In 1963, when many fellow leaders of the ANC and the Umkhonto we Sizwe were arrested, he was brought to stand trial with them for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. His statement from the dock received considerable international publicity. On June 12, 1964, eight of the accused, including Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment. From 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison, off Cape Town; thereafter, he was at Pollsmoor Prison, nearby on the mainland, and later at the Victor Vester prison near Paarl.
During his years in prison, his reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as the most significant black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom.
He was released on February 11, 1990. After his release, he plunged himself wholeheartedly into his life's work, striving to attain the goals, he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. In 1991, at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa after the organization had been banned in 1960, he was elected President of the ANC while his lifelong friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, became the organisation's National Chairperson." END QUOTE
With Thanks from the Nobelprize.org...See related links below for the complete Biography
During his lifetime Nelson Mandela was honored with more than
250 various awards (see link below for full list).
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (IPA: [xolíɬaɬa mandéːla]; born 18 July 1918) was the first President of South Africa to be elected in fully representative democratic elections, serving from 1994-1999. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African National Congress and its armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. He was convicted for sabotage and other crimes committed while he spearheaded the struggle against apartheid. He spent 27 years in prison for this, with many of those years being spent on Robben Island.
In South Africa and internationally, Mandela became a symbol of freedom and equality for his opposition to apartheid, while the apartheid government and nations sympathetic to it condemned him and the ANC as communists and terrorists.
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, his support for reconciliation and negotiation helped lead the transition to multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, he has been widely praised, even by former opponents.
Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela."
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