- NAME: Nelson Mandela
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, World Leader, Journalist
- BIRTH DATE: July 18, 1918 (Age: 94)
- EDUCATION: Clarkebury Boarding Institute, Wesleyan College, University College of Fort Hare, University of London, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Transkei, South Africa
- Full Name: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
- AKA: Nelson Mandela
- AKA: Rolihlahla
- AKA: Madiba
- Originally: Rolihlahla Mandela
- ZODIAC SIGN: Cancer
Best Known For
Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994. A symbol of global peacemaking, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Nelson Mandela - Legacy (2:01)
Nelson Mandela - Early Life (2:57)
After being in prison for more than 25 years, Nelson Mandela was released and became the first black President of South Africa.
Despite overwhelming odds and the outlawing of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela remained dedicated to his cause for freedom.
Nelson Mandela was born in a small South African village on July 18th, 1918. From here he would go on to become one of the greatest African leaders in history.
Watch a short video about Nelson Mandela and the obstacles that he overcame for equality in South Africa.
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In January 2011, Mandela suffered his first lung infection, and in early 2012, he was briefly hospitalized in Johannesburg to undergo surgery for a stomach ailment. He was released after a few days, later returning to Qunu. In December 2012, the 94-year-old Mandela was hospitalized for tests and medical treatment relating to a recurrent lung infection. In March 2013,
he was re-admitted to the hospital after his lung infection returned—marking the third time in two years that the former president has been hospitalized for a respiratory infection. Hours later, it was reported that he was responding positively to treatment.
Jacob Zuma, South Africa's current president, issued a statement in response to public concern over Mandela's recent health scare, asking for support in the form of prayer: "We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts," Zuma said. "We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery."
Nelson Mandela continues to be a source of inspiration for civil rights activists worldwide. In 2009, Mandela's birthday (July 18) was declared Mandela Day, an international day to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader's legacy.
According to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, the annual event is meant to encourage citizens worldwide to give back the way that Mandela has throughout his lifetime. According to a statement on the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory's website, "Mr. Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it's supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community."
Mandela has been married three times. He was married to Evelyn Ntoko Mase from 1944 to 1957. The couple had four children together: Madiba Thembekile, Makgatho, Makaziwe and Maki. He and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela were married from 1958 to 1996; they had two daughters together, Zenani and Zindziswa. In 1998, Mandela married Graça Machel.
In addition to advocating for peace and equality on both a national and global scale, Mandela has remained committed to the fight against AIDS, a disease that killed his son, Makgatho, in 2005.
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