The man who revolutionized South Africa has passed, but his legacy will live on. Here are some facts about his extraordinary life.
- Nelson Mandela was the president of South Africa from 1994-1999. He was the first black president, and the first president to be elected in a fully representative election.
- His government focused on destroying the Apartheid government in the country. This government focused on racial segregation which was enforced by the law.
- In school, Mandela studied law and became one of South Africa’s first black lawyers.
- In the 1950s, he was elected leader of the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC) liberation movement.
- When the government prohibited the ANC for racial reasons, Mandela organized a secret military movement against the government. He had previously been involved in peaceful protests for racial equality, but when they were met with violence from the government he decided an armed movement was necessary.
- Mandela was imprisoned from 1962-1990 for treason and conspiracy against the government. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was released early when the ANC became legal again.
- While he was in prison, Mandela was a symbol to rally behind for the oppressed in South Africa who were fighting for rights.
- Mandela is considered the father of Modern South Africa. He was instrumental in tearing down the oppressive government and installing democracy.
- Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for peacefully destroying the Apartheid regime and laying the foundation for democracy. In addition to the Nobel Piece Prize, he won over 250 other awards.
- After retirement from politics, Mandela started the Nelson Mandela Foundation that focused on combating HIV/AIDS and supported rural development and school construction.
- In 2009, the United Nations proclaimed Mandela’s birthday (July 18th) to be Nelson Mandela International Day. The holiday asks people to spend 67 minutes doing something good for others, which represents the 67 years he spent working toward change.
Sources: Heavy.com, New York Magazine, NobelPrize.org
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