Nelson Mandela’ was born on July 18th, 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province. His story symbolizes a lifestyle struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It was a terrible form of institutionalized racism that held the South African society in it’s grip for a long time. It was not easy for Mandela to fight against it, as he too was among those who were oppressed by the system.
Before becoming actively involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, Mandela survived many years of his life as a subject of colonialism. As a child in Africa, Mandela was a victim of the European colonial project which involved ‘civilizing’ indigenous communities by silencing African ways of life in favour of a Euro-centric culture.
In the early 1960’s, Mandela was imprisoned for his stand against the racist laws of the government. He stayed in prison for nearly three decades but refused to compromise his position, which was to fight for justice and equality for all people.
A courageous and uncompromising hero, Mandela was a man of principles, strength and integrity. In 1994, he led the country to the end of apartheid and was elected the first black president of South Africa. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. After he retired from public life, Mandela continued to embody the hopes and dreams of a free and equal world. He died on December 5th, 2013 at the age of 95 at Johannesburg, South Africa.
Nelson Mandela received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin and the Bharat Ratna. Today, Nelson Mandela, popularly known as ‘Madiba’ in South Africa, is a household name all over the world.