Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (From 18 July 1918 to 5 December 2013) was an apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist in South Africa who was president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black head of state in the country and the first elected in fully representative democratic elections. His government focused on eradicating the apartheid legacy by fighting legitimate racism and promoting racial reconciliation. Ideally, an African nationalist and socialist, he served from 1991 to 1997 as party president of the African National Congress.

Being a sickle, Mandela was born into the Tembu royal family in Mwezo, British South Africa. He studied law at Fort Hara University and Witwatersrand, then worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg. There he began to participate in anti-colonial and African nationalist politics, joined the ANC in 1943 and became a co-founder of the Youth League in 1944. ANC committed to overthrowing. Mandela was appointed president of the ANC Transvaal section and became known for his participation in the disobedience campaign in 1952 and the People's Congress. He was repeatedly arrested for inflammatory actions and prosecuted unsuccessfully for treason in 1956. Under the influence of Marxism, he secretly joined the Communist Party of South Africa. Although initially engaged in nonviolent protest, in 1961 he founded the militant Umhonto and Sizwe in collaboration with the SACP and launched a sabotage campaign against the government. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1962, and then sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to overthrow the state after the Rivonia trial.

Mandela served 27 years in a prison divided between Robben Island, the survey prison and Victor Verster's prison. Between increasing internal and international pressure and fears of racial civil war, President F.V. de Klerk released him in 1990. Mandela and De Klerk led efforts to agree on the end of apartheid, leading to the 1994 multinational general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president. As the leader of a large coalition government that promulgated a new constitution, Mandela stressed the importance of reconciliation between racial groups in the country and created a truth. Economically, the Mandela administration has supported the liberal framework of its predecessor, despite its socialist beliefs, and has introduced measures to promote land reform, combat poverty and expand health. He acted internationally as a mediator in the bombing of Pan Am Airline’s flight 103 and from 1998 to 1999 he was secretary-general of the non-aligned movement. He gave up his second term and in 1999 was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elderly statesman and focused on fighting poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Charitable Foundation.