Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had been a political prisoner in South Africa for 27 years. In 1964, under the racist regime of apartheid instituted by the National Party.
Mandela had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison on charges of sabotage, treason and conspiracy. While in prison, Mandela’s resolve was steadfast and he continued to be the symbolic leader of the anti-apartheid movement.
Released by South African president F.W. de Klerk on February 11, 1990, Mandela led negotiations for the end of apartheid. Four years later, 22 million South Africans would turn out to vote for Mandela, electing him the first Black president of South Africa.