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Nelson Mandela: 1918 - 2013

Nelson Mandela, who emerged after 27 years in prison to steer troubled South Africa to its first multiracial democracy, uniting the country by reaching out to fearful whites and becoming a revered symbol of racial reconciliation around the world, died at his home in December 2013. He was 95.

Mandela and the man who released him, President Frederik W. de Klerk, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. A year later, Mandela, the son of a tribal chief, succeeded De Klerk after a historic, peaceful election, the images of which were seared into the memory of a global audience: millions of blacks cast the first votes of their lifetimes.

After leaving the government, Mandela’s worldwide stature continued to grow. He became active in the fight against AIDS; a son died of the disease in 2005. He also traveled widely in support of human rights and efforts to end poverty and spoke out vehemently against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In 2004, at age 85, Mandela announced his retirement from public life.

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