Celebrations will take place across the world on Wednesday to mark Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday.
A Nobel peace laureate, Mandela spent 27 years in prison fighting racist rule. He became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, serving a five-year term.
Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa. His father was Chief Henry Mandela of the Tembu Tribe.
Mandela himself was educated at University College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand and qualified in law in 1942. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies after 1948. He went on trial for treason in 1956-1961 and was acquitted in 1961.
He is a South African politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first ever to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before being elected President, Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, and the leader and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela went on to serve 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to the establishment of democracy in 1994. As President, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation, while introducing policies aimed at combating poverty and inequality in South Africa.
In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name; or as tata (Xhosa: father). Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades.
South Africa’s Unions Congratulate Nelson Mandela on His Birthday
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has congratulated anti-apartheid icon and former South African President Nelson Mandela, who celebrates his 94 th birthday Wednesday.
COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven said Mandela will continue to be an inspiration to all South Africans, as well as the rest of the world.