South African authorities confirmed this afternoon the death of a world leader Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, affectionately called Madiba, was born in Mvezo, Union of South Africa (now the Republic of South Africa), July 18, 1918. He studied law at the University Wiswatersrand Johannesburg, being received in 1942 as a lawyer.
He practiced politics at an early age. Created the South African National Party in 1948 and became important in the ANC’s campaign of civil disobedience, 1952, in open struggle against the policy of racial segregation, apartheid (separation) imposed by whites who ruled the country to take away the possibility of blacks to access to power and the socioeconomic environment and some freedoms. He created the People’s Congress of 1955, which enacted the ” Freedom Charter.”
In 1962 Mandela was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, to life imprisonment. He was held in 1964 in prison on Robben Island for 17 years, in precarious conditions. Then spend another 10 years in two other prisons, making a total sentence of 27 years. As a prisoner, he and others performed hard labor in a quarry lime works, which years later would affect a strong tuberculosis and severe permanent damage to his lungs.
During his imprisonment, Mandela’s reputation grew, coming to be known as the most significant black leader in South Africa. It became a symbol of the fight against apartheid within and outside the country, a legendary figure who represented the lack of freedom of all South Africans black men.
In February 1985 President Botha offered Mandela conditional release in return to renounce armed struggle. Mandela refused, communicating through his daughter Zindzi: “What freedom am I being offered while the organization leaves people banned . Only free men can negotiate, a prisoner can not enter into contracts.”
During his imprisonment, his struggle was echoed in South Africa and the world and his second wife, Winnie Madikizela (1958-1994), and his spokeman led his approach. He was also married to Evelyn Mase (1944-1956) and Graça Machel (current spouse , since 1998). He has five children.
In 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster prison, remaining there until his release. In 1989, President Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced by Frederik Willem de Klerk, who on February 11, 1990 announces the release of Mandela.
Once free, Mandela led his party in the negotiations for a multi-racial democracy in South Africa. He became the black South African president democratically elected in 1994 until 1999, by universal suffrage. Their fight took a turn to fight apartheid towards national reconciliation. He received more than 250 international awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, together with De Klerk, who, in token of his pacifism, kept him as his vice president.
His last public appearance was at the closing ceremony of the World Cup South Africa 2010. Since then his health began to wane.