Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela, 1993

Mvezo, Union of South Africa, July 18, 1918-Johannesburg, South Africa, December 5, 2013

His original name was Rolihlahla Mandela, and he was born a member of the Thembu tribe. He is a towering figure of the twentieth century, for dedicating his life to ending apartheid and the achievement of the rights of people with dark skin.

He earned a law degree in 1942 and that same year he joined the African National Congress, which sought political change in the country. In 1948 the National Party came to power and began to establish racial segregation policies against non-whites. As a result, the African National Congress adopted various methods to protest the apartheid: boycotts, strikes and civil disobedience, among others.

In 1952 Mandela was named a vice president of Congress, and engaged in a radical line in view of the increasingly intolerant racist policies. With courage, wisdom and courage, he fought against prejudice and advocated education, land redistribution and union rights leading peaceful and sometimes violent acts. He gained notoriety for the People’s Congress in 1955 and in this mobilization he drafted the Freedom Charter, a document demanding openness.

By his attempts to overthrow the regime, he was considered a dangerous opponent and even a terrorist and was imprisoned from 1962 to 1990. During this period he saw his reputation grow, standing as an international symbol of peace, freedom and equality. In 1990 South Africa succumbed to pressure and allowed to free Mandela.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and the following year he became the first dark-skinned president of South Africa. His administration focused on respect for human rights through the establishment of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, and the guarantee of a dignified life for the population. In 1999 he retired from political life after completing his term as president. In spite of this, he stayed involved in social organizations.

Nelson Mandela is recognized as one the most important men for his contribution to peace.