Nelson Mandela began life in 1918 in South Africa. He led armed
resistance against apartheid, his native land's entrenched system of
brutal legal discrimination that guaranteed political and economic
security for White South Africans and disenfranchisement and poverty
As a part of the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela found
himself first a fugitive and then a prisoner. During his twenty seven
years in jail, he became an international symbol of defiance against
the brutality of South Africa's racist regime.
Mandela was freed from prison in 1990. He was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize three years later. Shortly thereafter, he was elected the first
Black president of a new South Africa, one now free of apartheid--if
not entirely of its legacy--due in part to his efforts.