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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born in Umtata on July 18

, 1918. His
father, Chief Henry, married four wives. Neither Nelsons father
nor his mother ever attended school. His father died in 1930 and
David Dalindyebo, the chief of the tribe, became his guardian.
Mandela holds a degree from the University of South Africa, and
he is a qualified lawyer. He married Winnie Madikizela, his
second wife, in 1958 and altogether he has five children.

His interest in politics started when he listened to elders of his
tribe speaking about the good old days before the arrival of the
white man, when black people lived peacefully and freely. Nelson
knew then that he wanted to serve his people in their fight against
the white people. When he was twenty-three, his guardian decided
it was time for him to get married. But Nelson escaped to
Johannesburg, the capital, where he later studied law.

In 1944, Neslon joined the African National Congress. He spent
about twenty seven years in prison. After more than fifteen years
of fighting for the rights of the African people, Nelson was set
free in 1989.

In 1994, Mandela became the oldest elected President of South
Africa when he took office at the age of 75. He decided not to
stand for a second term and retired in 1999. After his retirement
as President, Mandela went on to become an advocate for a
variety of social and human rights organizations.