Nelson Mandela

The former activist and President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was born in 1918. He helped bring an end to apartheid, proving to all that in a deeply divided country with serious racial problems it is possible to achieve social reconciliation with peaceful and political means. Throughout his life he has been a global advocate for human rights and an example to the world.
As a member of the African National Congress party beginning in the 1940s, he was a leader of peaceful protests. Once these were deemed futile, he called for armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa. His actions led to his imprisonment for nearly three decades and made him the face of the anti-apartheid movement both within his country and internationally. Released in 1990, he participated in the eradication of apartheid, and  then in 1994 became the first black president of South Africa, forming a multiethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. Since retiring from politics in 1999, he has remained a devoted champion of peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world.