Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela ( 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) “The Father of the Nation” – today we look South Africa’s most prominent personnel, the father figure of the Rainbow Nation.
Who is Rolihlahla?
He was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Nelson Mandela, Born in Mvezo, a village near Mthatha on 18 July 1918, Mandela became known and respected all over the world as a symbol of the struggle against apartheid and all forms of racism; the icon and the hero of African liberation.
He was sentenced along with other anti-apartheid activists on 12 June 1964 after what became known as the Rivonia Trial. Mandela and others were charged with sabotage for their anti-apartheid activism.
He was released from Robben Island in March 1982, after 18 years, and was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town with fellow stalwarts Walter Sisulu and Raymond Mhlaba, among others.
In December 1988, he was moved to the Victor Verster Prison near Paarl, from where he was eventually released.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison.
Amid international pressure and growing fear of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990.
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 democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.
Madiba received more than 250 honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Lenin Peace Prize.
He died at the age of 95 after suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection. He died at around 20:50 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family.