Nelson Mandela is one of the most respected figures in the contemporary world. Check out this brief biography and profile for more information on Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela

A humanitarian, a freedom fighter, a determined lawyer and above all, a compassionate human being - Nelson Mandela easily slips into each of these roles with ease. The first black President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela is best remembered for his Nobel Peace Prize and his struggle against apartheid. Once regarded as terrorist, Nelson Mandela is now affectionately known as Madiba, which is an honorary title that is adopted by the clan. His life is an inspiration to all those who dream of making it to the top despite all odds.
One of the most respected human beings of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela fought determined for what he believed in. He fought for equality for all. He fought against the dreadful practice of apartheid, in which blacks were ill-treated by the whites and were not given any rights or powers. During his fight, he was imprisoned and was kept in jail for a span of 27 years. It was due to his sacrifice that today the condition of blacks South Africa and also all over the world, is much better.
His release from prison was a cause that was supported by people all over the world. Nelson Mandela served as the President for two terms before announcing his retirement. Even though he was mistreated by the whites, his nobility and also the ability to shed feelings of resentment helped tremendously in establishing a new beginning and better treatment of blacks. If it was not for his steady efforts, the transition would have been problematic and would have taken the lives of many innocents. His humanitarian side can be seen from the fact that he regularly lends support to foundations that help people suffering from AIDS and does his best to spread awareness about it.
Nelson Mandela Timeline
  • 1918: Born as Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela on July 18 in South Africa. Given the name ‘Nelson’ by a teacher at school
  • 1919: Father (Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa) is dispossessed of his land and money due to orders passed by a white magistrate
  • 1927: His father dies. Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the chief of their clan becomes Nelson’s guardian and makes sure he receives good education
  • 1937: Moves on to Healdtown for getting enrolled in Wesleyan College. Starts studying for B.A in Fort Hare University, where he meets his lifelong friend Oliver Tambo
  • 1939: Gets involved in a boycott of the Students' Representative Council against the university policies and is asked to leave the university campus. Goes to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage and experiences apartheid for the first time. Completes his degree through correspondence from University of South Africa and also studies law
  • 1943: Joins as an activist with the African National Congress
  • 1944: Forms Youth League of African National Congress along with his friend Oliver Tambo and Walter Sislu. Also, gets married to Evelyn Ntoko Mase, his first wife and eventually has three children with her
  • 1952: Starts the first black legal firm in South Africa along with Oliver Tambo and provides free and low cost legal advice and counseling to black people who didn’t have legal representation
  • 1956: Nelson is accused of conspiring to overthrow South African state through violent means along with 155 political activists and is charged with high treason.
  • 1957: His marriage with first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase breaks up
  • 1958: Gets married to Nomzamo "Winnie" Madikizela, who is a social worker and eventually have two children.
  • 1959: ANC loses much of its financial and military support because many members break up and from Pan Africanist Congress
  • 1960: Infamous Sharpeville Massacre takes place wherein the police kill 69 peaceful protesters. ANC is banned and Mandela goes into hiding to form an armed military group
  • 1962: Gets arrested after living on the run for 17 months and is imprisoned in Johannesburg fort. Mandela is sentenced to five years in prison but somehow escapes
  • 1964: Mandela is captured and convicted for sabotage and treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • 1980: Oliver Tambo launches an international campaign for the release of Mandela. Meanwhile Zimbabwe gains independence
  • 1990: Mandela is released from prison after serving for 27 years. The ban on ANC is lifted by President De Klerk
  • 1991: Appointed the President of ANC and the International Olympics Committee lift a 21 year ban on south African sportsmen to compete in Olympics
  • 1993: Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994: Runs for the post of President in the free elections where black South Africans are allowed to vote for the first time. Wins the elections with majority and becomes the first black President of South Africa
  • 1995: South Africa hosts as well as wins the Rugby World Cup
  • 1998: Marries for the third time on his 80th birthday, Graca Machel, who is the widow of the former President of Mozambique
  • 2000: Played the role of a mediator in the civil war in Burundi
  • 2001: Diagnosed and treated for Prostate cancer and was later made the honorary Canadian citizen
  • 2003: Condemned the foreign policy of George W. Bush. Lent his support to 46664 AIDS fundraising campaign. The initiative was named after his prison number
  • 2004: Announced his retirement from public life at the age of 85. Went to Bangkok to speak at the XV International AIDS Conference. Was awarded the highest honor by Johannesburg by granting Nelson Mandela the Freedom of the City


Nelson Mandela, ((last visited Feb 5, 2013).
Nelson Mandela, (last visited Feb 5, 2013).
Nelson Mandela, (last visited Feb 5, 2013).

How to Cite

More from