Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

When Nelson Mandela was born the world was a black and white place. But thanks to him, barriers are not just lifting – they have largely disappeared.

One of the greatest equal rights campaigners of all, he was born on 18 July 1918. During his schooling, Nelson Mandela attended a mission school – at the time the only place in South Africa where black citizens could receive an education. While studying law he developed an active interest in politics, and joined the African National Congress (ANC), which campaigned against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. The ANC’s aims included full citizenship rights, distribution of land, and full access to education and cultural institutions.

Numerous arrests and an outright ban for the ANC were not enough to stop Mandela, who continued his work underground. With his help, the last remaining Apartheid law was abolished in 1991. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. His work not only moved a nation, it changed the world.