Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on the 18 July 1918 in Mvezo, Cape Province in the union of South Africa. He was the first black chief executive and ruled over south Africa from the year 1994 to 1999. He was the first president elected in democratic elections with votings from the entire population.
Mandela grew in the small village Qunu during the apartheid and he was the first child in his family to get an education. Mandela continued his studies in Clarkebury Boarding institute where he then got familliar with the western culture. As a young university student Nelson got very involved in the political opposition to the white minority government's denial of political, social and economic rights to South Africa's black majority population. Nelson together with his two friends Walter Sisulu och Oliver Tambo joined the ANC Youth League in 1942. 
After the party Nasionale Parties won the election, which of course the black people could not vote in, they introduced an even tougher race policy which they called apartheid. This meant, among other things whites and blacks are not allowed to marry each other, the people were divided into different races and each race would live separately from. This led the families had to move and families where family members belonged to different races were divided. During this time Nelson and his friend Oliver drove a law firm called "Nelson and Tambo" where they gave legal advice for free or for a low cost for low-income black South Africans. 
Mandela became very involved in the struggle against apartheid. He tried to change th laws through a non-violent campaign. But it was difficult to organize a real resistance. The people in the ANC had all different opinions, everyone wanted to do differently. Also there were many other parties that all competed for the members. The ANC allied themselves with the other parties of other minorities, for example the white, colored and the indians. 
In th beginning Mandela was against the violent resistance. But he later realized that his party had to put up a fight against the government after the the massacre in Sharpeville. Mandela coordinated a sabotage campaign against the military and government targets, and planned a war if sabotage failed to get the policy of apartheid to an end.
On the 11th of July 1964 Mandela was sentenced to a lifetime in prison. He was prisoned on the Robben Island where he would spend the next 18 years. During his time in prison, Mandela managed to maintain contact with the ANC. 
In south Africa the demostrations and sabotage continued against apartheid. And even the rest of the world started to demonstrate against South Africas government. They wanted to isolate South Africa from all international cooperatin as long as the apartheid system still remained.
In 1982 Nelson was relocated after 18 years on Robben Island to a prison in Pollsmoor in the south of Cape Town. In 1985, South Africas current president P.W Botha came with a proposal to release Mandela. His demands was that Mandela would give up the armed struggle. But Mandela refused. He said that if the government continued with their violence against the people he would not give up their power.
In October 1989 South Africas new president Frederik Willem released Walter Sisulu and 7 other ANC members. He explained that the ANC and other banned 33 political parties would be allowed, that all executions would be canceled and that all political prisoners who have not committed any violent crimes. 
The 11th february 1989 Nelson Mandela was finally released after 27 years in prison. 
In 1993 Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk received the Nobels peaceprice in Oslo. Nelson continued fighting against the violence and unite all the different ethnic groups and political parties. In 1994 they held a democratic election where everbody could vote. The ANC had 62% of the votes and won the election. Mandela was chosen to become South Africas president. He wanted to reconcile with the whites sohe named de Klerk as vice president. 
Mandela was president and leader for the ANC until 1999. Even after Nelson had retired, he was still working hard to support organizations who was promoting social justice and human rights. He was also involved in the fight against AIDS. He has received numerous awards and been praised worldwide for his work for his country and his people.

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