Nelson Mandela led an extraordinary life, and became a leading world figure in the fight for racial equality. In South Africa, he was revered for the fight against apartheid, spending 27 years behind bars for it, only to emerge as his country's first black president. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Here are some images from his life:
1956 Treason Trial
In the above photo, African National Congress (ANC) supporters pray in front of the courthouse of Johannesburg, Dec. 28 1956, to support 156 anti-apartheid militants, including Nelson Mandela, who were arrested in a raid, charged with high treason, and were now on trial. The main trial dragged on until 1961, when all of the defendants were found not guilty.
The South African government, however, had officially banned the ANC in 1960, which now went underground. Mandela began residing at the ANC’s hideout, Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia.
1957 Marriage to Winnie
African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela his wife Winnie at their wedding in 1957. This copy was taken from the family album the original was by Alf Khumalo. The couple later divorced.
The 1964 Rivonia Trial
Anti-apartheid demonstrators gather outside the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square, London, June 12, 1964, in protest against the sentence to life imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, former chief of the banned African National Congress. Mandela, 46, and seven other defendants were found guilty in the South African treason trial in Pretoria. On July 13, 1964, Mandela would be transferred to prison on Robben Island near Cape Town.
The Long Years in Prison
Zinzi Mandela, center, daughter of jailed-for-life anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, holds a placard, August 29, 1985, at the campus of the Cape Town University as she and other students stage a demonstration requesting the release of ANC activists. At right, another student holds a picture of Nelson Mandela.
Mandela began his prison term at Robben Island Prison, a maximum security prison on a small island off the coast near Cape Town. In April 1984, he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town and in December 1988 he was moved the Victor Verster Prison near Paarl. While in prison, Mandela flatly rejected offers made by his jailers for remission of sentence in exchange for accepting the apartheid policy of his nation. Again in the 1980s, Mandela rejected an offer of release on the condition that he renounce violence. “Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Only free men can negotiate,” he said.
1988: Mandela's 70th Birthday
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu addresses participants gathered for the Nelson Mandela Freedom Rally held in London's Hyde Park, 17 July 1988, one day before the 70th birthday of the jailed South African black leader. A crowd of 250,000 who attended the rally heard calls from speakers for the release of Mandela, who by that time had spent the previous 25 years in jail.
1990: Released After 27 Years in Prison
In the photo above, Nelson Mandela, left, and his wife Winnie, right, appear at Cape Town's airport prior to flying to Johannesburg in this February 1,1990 photo, the day after his release from prison.(AP Photo /File, Adil Bradlow)
1990: Making Up for Lost Time
Nelson Mandela delivers his first public speech in Cape Town, since his release from jail, Feb. 11, 1990. He urged white South Africans to join African National Congress (ANC) in working for a new South Africa. At right is Mandela's wife Winnie Mandela.
First Press Conference
In this photo, Mandela smiles during a photo session in Cape Town after his first press conference since his release from jail.
A Warm Welcome
A music fan displays a portrait of Nelson Mandela during the “human rainbow” music concert organized by local artists to welcome the ANC leader's release after 27 years of imprisonment. Photo taken at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, March 17, 1990.
Taking the Fight to the United Nations
Nelson Mandela smiles in New York, raising his arms over his head as he receives applause at the United Nations. Mandela urged the U.N. to maintain sanctions against South Africa until apartheid is abolished.
With George H. W. Bush
Nelson Mandela, left, waves to the media and fans on June 25, 1990 after finishing his joint statement with former US President George Bush, right, on the White House South Lawn in Washington, D.C.
1993: Winning the Nobel Peace Prize
South African Deputy President F.W. de Klerk, right, and Nelson Mandela, by that time South Africa’s President, pose with their Nobel Peace Prize Gold Medal and Diploma, in Oslo, December 10, 1993. De Klerk announced at a press conference in Cape Town, Tuesday Aug. 26, 1997, that he was resigning as head of South Africa's National Party, and would quit politics.
1996: Reforming the South African Constitution
President Nelson Mandela, left, and Deputy President F.W. de Klerk talk outside Parliament after the approval of South Africa's new constitution on May 8, 1996. Despite fears that parties would not reach the required two thirds consensus, the final vote was 421-2 with 10 abstentions. Mandela, a Johannesburg attorney, had joined the African National Congress in 1944 and directed a campaign against the government's racist policies. In 1990, de Klerk legalized the ANC and freed an imprisoned Mandela who became the president and first black leader of South Africa on May 10, 1994.
Coins and Currency
Upper photo, May 5, 2011: The release of a Nelson Mandela one ounce gold coin to commemorate the 80th birthday of the great South African statesman, the first president to be inaugurated in a free and democratic South Africa in 1994.
In the lower photo can be seen a sheaf of South African banknotes, a complete set of all denominations (10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Rands) and all featuring the iconic statesman Nelson Mandela.
A Monument to Justice and Freedom
Statue of Nelson Mandela at the Groot Drakenstein prison near the town of Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa. Mandela would be present at the unveiling of another statue in his honor at Parliament Square on August 29, 2007 in London, England, by sculptor Ian Walters, one of several statues honoring him..
A Man for the Ages
Mandela will forever be known as history’s greatest anti-apartheid icon, an enemy of oppression in all its forms, and a champion of democracy.
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