Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013) was a South African politician, philanthropist and was actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement (apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa between 1948 and 1991).
- He spent more than 25 years in prison for opposing the apartheid regime. Amid growing domestic and international pressure and with fears of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990. The day was a huge event for South Africa and the world. His release symbolized the impending end of apartheid.
- Mandela 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 the abolition of apartheid legacy by addressing institutionalized racism and promoting racial reconciliation.
- He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with F. W. de Klerk) in 1993 for his work in helping to end racial segregation in South Africa.
- He died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95.