Nelson Mandela's full name is Rolihlahla Mandela. He was born in a small African American village called Mvezo in 1918, and started attending school in 1925. His teacher gave him the name Nelson. During 1937 through 1940, Nelson enrolls in Healdtown, a college in Fort Beaufort. After a while, Mandela attends the University of Fort Hare in Alice. Shortly after his arrival, though, Nelson is asked to leave because of his boycotting the voting process of the Student Representative Council.
During 1941-1944, Nelson flies to Johannesburg to skirt an arranged marriage that he does not want to take any part in. In Johannesburg, Mandela meets Walter Sisulu, who becomes Nelson's teacher and friend for life. Nelson Mandela works as a clerk in the law firm. Nelson Mandela also joins the African National Congress as an activist and later forms the ANC's Youth League with his friend Walter Oliver Tambo.
During 1948-1952, the government introduces apartheid policy. The National Party comes to power and introduces an apartheid policy of racial segregation. It limited black African's freedoms. Nelson and the ANC then began launching campaigns to resist the laws. After that, Nelson and Tambo open up the first black law firm in all of South Africa. It provided affordable or free legal counsel to African Americans who otherwise might not have legal representation.
In 1960, there was devastation for Nelson Mandela. The government had started to kill black protesters. The South African police killed 69 black protesters in Sharpeville, who were demonstrating against the governments requirement for nonwhites to carry identity cards as passes. The government then declared state of emergency and bans Nelson with the ANC.
This is where is gets really unfortunate for Nelson Mandela. During 1961-1963, Nelson is arrested and charged with conspiracy. Mandela is appointed leader of the newly formed Umkhonto we Siwze guerrilla movement, which is an underground military arm for ANC. Mandela is arrested, tried, and sentenced to five years in prison. After raiding the ANC offices, police find documents outlining an armed campaign to overthrow to government. Nelson and nine others are charged with conspiracy. After that, during 1964, after an eight month trial, Nelson and seven others are sentenced to life in prison. Their prison is on Robben Island. Before the trial, though, Nelson made a speech, "I am prepared to die". He made that speech from the dock.
There is a turning point in Nelson's life though. During 1990-1991, after 27 years, Mandela is freed from prison. A year later after the ANC's first National conference, Nelson is elected president of the Party. In 1993, Nelson Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk are awarded the Noble Peace Prize.
In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa. For the first time is history, all races voted in South America's democratic elections. The ANC won 252 votes out of 400 seats in the National Assembly. Then Mandela gets elected president of South Africa. His friend F.W. de Klerk is sworn in as deputy President. After that special event, in 1995, South Africa wins the Rugby World Cup, and Nelson Mandela is there to wear the Springbok jersey as he presents the trophy to the captain of the team. It as seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.
In 1999, a big turn of events happen. Nelson Mandela gives up his Presidency for Thabo Mbeki, and then he tours the world as a global leader. Then, a series of unfortunate events occur. Nelson Mandela is diagnosed with prostrate cancer and begins medical treatment. Upon those events, Nelson announces his retirement from public life, saying he plans to spend more time with his family.
In 2008, Nelson Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday. He had much fanfare while he celebrated in Hyde Park in London. During 2011-2012, Nelson Mandela was hospitalized for lung infection. He suffered his first lung infection and a year later, he was hospitalized for repeated treatments and a surgery.
On July 18, 2013, Nelson Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday. He continued to receive treatments at a Pretoria hospital. For weeks, doctors said Mandela remained in "stable but critical conditions". Then disaster strikes. The great Nelson Mandela, South Africa's courageous President died on December 5th, 2013. Jacob Zuma said "We have lost our greatest son".