Nelson Mandela the civil rights activist and former president of South Africa died today at the age of 95 at his home in Johannesburg. Mandela was the first black president of the country from 1994 until 1999 after helping end the apartheid system of racial segregation in that country. Here are a few facts about his accomplished life.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, having been charged with plotting to overthrow the South African government.
His real name wasn’t “Nelson” but Rolihlahla. A teacher gave him the name “Nelson” as it was customary for African students to receive English names.
Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, sharing it with former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk (the man who freed him from prison) because they had agreed on a peaceful transition to majority rule.
For the first time the United Nations dedicated a day to a person, making Mandela’s birthday July 18th, Nelson Mandela International Day.
While in prison Mandela was sentenced to hard labor and was only allowed one visitor per year for only 30 minutes at a time.