Nelson Mandela Dies at the Age of 95 12/5/13
Nelson Mandela, the man known to many as the Father of the Republic of South Africa and the country's first black president died today. He was 95 years old.
Mr. Mandela was born in 1918 and grew up to become a lawyer. In the 1950's and 1960's he became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and eventually became one of the most visible leaders.
In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. As a result, Mr. Mandela was sentenced to life in prison on South Africa's famous Robben Island. On February 11, 1990, after 27 years in prison, Mr. Mandela was freed unconditionally.
In a series of negotiations between 1990 and 1993, apartheid was dismantled. Mr. Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk were jointly awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their work.
In 1994, Mr. Mandela was elected South Africa's first black president.
He was well-known for advocating the use of sports to unite people across the globe. In a speech at a sports awards banquet, he said, "Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers."
Mr. Mandela retired in 1999 for a quiet, family life; but, quickly he reverted to a busy public life making appearances and speaking out for causes. He was instrumental in bringing the Rugby World Cup to South Africa in 1995. He also helped bring the Soccer World Cup to the country in 2010.
In 2004 at the age of 85, Mr. Mandela announced that he was "retiring from retirement." His health had already started slipping and it progressively got worse.
He died on December 5 surrounded by his family. His death was announced by South African President Jacob Zuma.