The world is morning the loss of Nelson Mandela, the former South African President and champion anti-apartheid leader.
Mandela’s health had been fragile since suffering from a lung infection and, according to ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who he remained close with even after their divorce in 1996, he could not speak.
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918.
He has been married three times and fathered six children.
By the mid 1940s, he had a promising legal career.
Recalling that time period in his life in his autobiography, Mandela wrote that he wore “smart suits” and drove an Oldsmobile.
That all changed in 1948 when the National party came to power and apartheid took effect.
The majority black population lost all of their rights, including their citizenship.
Apartheid, contrary to what many believe, did not just affect those that were black. Indian, Chinese and other people deemed “coloured” were also victims of apartheid.
It remains the most vicious system of forced segregation that our nation has seen.
Mandela, known affectionately as Mandiba joined the African National Congress party which was the beginning of his lifelong quest to ensure equality and fair treatment among the races.
He spent nearly 30 years of his life in jail after being sentenced in 1964 to a lifetime prison sentence.
He was released from prison in 1990 and worked with South African President F.W. de Klerk, the last white President of South Africa, to end apartheid.
Apartheid officially ended in 1990.
In 1991, Mandela was elected President of the African National Congress (ANC) .
Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
In 1994 Mandela became President of South Africa. Many people consider the end of 1994 to be the true end of apartheid
On the Nelson Mandela website, you can write a condolence message that will be printed out and hand-delivered to Mandela’s family.
A state funeral is planned for the revered icon and current South African President Jacob Zuma said in an address , “Our nation has lost its greatest son.”