Who is Nelson Mandela?
The easy answer is; he was the president of South Africa.
But he's much more than that. He's a hero, one of the world's greatest.
Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 and lived his early life in South Africa in an unjust government system of Apartheid. He lived in a country where he could have the same job as his white neighbor, but still get payed less in a year than his neighbor would in a week. But he was a fighter, and he never bowed down to the unjust, white-ruled government.
He was known as a democratic socialist and the leader of the African National Congress (ANC). He played a big part in the dramatic demonstrations against the Apartheid system. But his career in ANC was cut short due to his life imprisonment in 1964. People saw Nelson Mandela's imprisonment as a cruel ploy done by the unjust system to silence him once and for all. But even behind bars, he was a beacon of hope for the people of South Africa.
After 27 long years in prison, Mandela was finally released. His release also marked the end of the apartheid system. Just 5 years after his release, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was elected as the president of South Africa. He was the first ever black president of the country, and the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid, and tackling institutionalised racism. Mandela died in 2013.
Today, thanks to his self-sacrifice, apartheid has been outlawed. The people of South Africa can live their lives comfortably and productively, with equal rights. He is one of the world's true freedom fighters, and he will be remembered long after the world has forgotten about the evils of apartheid.
His extraordinary story is told in his book, Long Walk to Freedom. This book has also been made into a film.