Friday, Feb. 04, 2011

Nelson Mandela

Over his 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela became the symbol of an entire people's struggle against injustice. And as his time behind bars grew so did the anti-apartheid movement he helped spur on. Mandela began his journey in 1944 when he joined the African National Congress (ANC) and became part of the resistance movement against the largely white, ethnic Afrikaner National Party's policies of segregation. His actions resulted in arrest and imprisonment, the majority of which was served at the infamous Robben Island prison. Upon his release in 1990, Mandela became head of the ANC and worked hand-in-hand with then-president F.W. de Klerk to end the country's long-held policies of racial segregation and apartheid. They were awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their work. In 1994, he won the nation's first multiracial elections, becoming South Africa's first black president. Though he has since retired from politics, Mandela continues to embody the struggle for peace, reconciliation and social justice worldwide.