Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and a politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was South Africa’s first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on making disappear the legacy of apartheid and racism, poverty and inequality, and promoting racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
Mandela was 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign asked for his release. He was released in 1990. Mandela joined negotiations with President F. W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory and became South Africa’s first black president. He published his autobiography in 1995. During his government of National Unity he invited other political parties to join the cabinet, and created a new constitution. He also created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. While continuing the liberal economic policy, his administration also introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services.
Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Denounced as a communist terrorist by critics, he nevertheless gained international acclaim for his activism, having received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom; he is often described as «the father of the nation».
In my personal opinion he is a fascinating person. Althought he was many years in prision, he became President of his country and he fight against racism and in favour of human rights.
Jaime García de Meer
4º E.S.O. B