Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the small village of Mvezo, in the district of Qunu near Umtata, Transkei (now known as Eastern Cape). Mandela became involved in politics while a student at Fort Hare University after he met Oliver Tambo, who became his life-long friend.
In 2009, the United Nations, declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day, to be celebrated annually. It was first celebrated in 2010. On 12 June 1964 Mandela was sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island. From Robben Island he was transferred to Pollsmoor prison and then Victor Verster prison before he was released in 1990. Mandela was elected president of South Africa in 1994. In 1999, at the end of his first term in office, he voluntarily stepped down. He had also resigned as the president of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1997 at the Mafikeng Congress.
In June 2004 Mandela called a press conference to announce his retirement from active politics and public life. However, he continued to engage in many social programmes and community development initiatives through the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Nelson Mandela Foundation established in 1995 and 1999 respectively. He became actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, using his Robben Island prison number 46664 to host music concerts throughout the world. In 2005 he came out openly to announce that his son Makgatho Mandela from his first wife had died of AIDS.
• The History Place, ‘Nelson Mandela: I am prepared to die’, [online], available at www.historyplace.com (Accessed: 05 June 2012)
• South African History Online, ‘Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’, [online], available at www.sahistory.org.za(Accessed: 05 June 2012)