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Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla 1918- South African activist statesman and Nobel laureate who was elected the first black president of South Africa in 1994 Mandela rose to national prominence as the leader of protest against the white minority governments policy of rigid racial segregation known as apartheid which officially ended in 1991 Elected president in the countrys first democratic elections Mandela promised a new multiracial government that would work to reverse the economic and social problems caused by apartheidMandela was born as the son of a Tembu tribal chief in Umtata in what is now Eastern Cape Province He became a lawyer and in 1944 joined the African National Congress ANC a civil rights group and helped establish the organizations Youth League In 1956 Mandela went on trial for treason but was acquitted in 1961 During this time he married Nkosikazi Nomzamo Madikizela see Mandela Winnie they separated in 1992 In the early 1960s Mandela led the ANCs paramilitary wing Umkhonto we Sizwe Spear of the Nation Arrested again in August 1962 he was sentenced to five years in prison While in prison Mandela along with several others was convicted of sabotage and treason and in June 1964 was sentenced to life imprisonment During this period Mandela became a worldwide symbol of resistance to white domination in South Africa The government under President F W de Klerk released Mandela in February 1990 after lifting the ban on the ANC Mandela assumed leadership of the ANC and led negotiations with the government for a new constitution that would grant political power to the countrys black majority population In 1991 the government repealed the last of the laws that formed the legal basis for apartheid Mandela and de Klerk shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in establishing democracy and racial harmony in South Africa In May 1994 after the countrys first national elections in which blacks could vote Mandela became president of South AfricaBibliographyMandela
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