Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is one of the world’s most revered statesmen, who led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multiracial democracy. Jailed for 27 years, he emerged to become the country’s first black President and to play a leading role in the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict. In 1993, Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle the country’s apartheid system. In 2009, Mandela’s birthday (July 18) was declared “Mandela Day” to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader’s legacy. His charisma, self-deprecating sense of humor and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment in prison, as well as his amazing life story, partly explain his extraordinary global appeal. After suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection, Mandela died on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95.