Nelson Mandela

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In January 1990 Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner in South Africa. By April 1994 he was the elected president of his country. In his early years he had led the armed struggle against South Africa's official policy of racial segregation, called apartheid. Ultimately he became a worldwide symbol of victory against apartheid when he was freed from his life sentence in prison. Mandela prefaced this challenge with the affirmation: I detest racism, because I regard it …

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…Feb. 11, 1990. He shared the 1993 Nobel peace prize with South Africa's president, F.W. de Klerk, for their peaceful struggle to bring a nonracial democracy to South Africa. Nelson Mandela personifies struggle. He is still leading the fight against apartheid with extraordinary vigor and resilience after spending nearly three decades of his life behind bars. He hs sacrificed his private life and his youth for his people and remains South Africa's best known and loved hero.