One of the greatest men who has ever lived, Nelson Mandela, passed away today at the age of 95. It's hard to over emphasize just how amazing of a human being Nelson Mandela was. This is a topic that has already been covered by dozens of books, thousands of magazines, hundreds of television interviews and a full length feature film biography.
Here are the broad strokes of his life, in case you have been living under a rock for 60 years: Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 Mvezo, South Africa. The South Africa Nelson was born into was highly segregated and racist and blacks. Despite being a tiny minority of the population, white South Africans, who were mainly of Dutch descent, ruled the country with an iron fist. The ruling white government is most noted for their policy of apartheid. Apartheid was government policy that meant racial segregation was actually enforced by law. Shockingly, Apartheid lasted from 1948 all the way to 1994. Schools, hospitals, beaches and all manner of public services were segregated. Black people could not be legal citizens or hold political office of South Africa.
In the late 50s and early 60s, Nelson Mandela was a leading member of an anti government organization called the African National Congress (ANC) which opposed South Africa's white minority dominance. The government outlawed the ANC in 1960, and two years later Nelson Mandela was arrested and jailed. In 1964, Nelson was sentenced to life in prison. He then became infamous for the way he served those brutal 27 years in prison. He was protested silently, patiently and without resistance. In 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk finally overturned the ban on the ANC and set Mandela free. Mandela and de Klerk would jointly win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Nelson was elected President of South Africa the following year and stayed in office until 1999.
Men like Nelson Mandela do not come along very often. His influence on the planet will be felt for generations to come and his legacy will not be soon forgotten. Rest in peace.