Former South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela, 95, passed away at his home in Johannesburg on Thursday after fighting a lung infection. The death of Nobel Peace Prize laureate has left the world in mourning.
"It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela - Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly make further official announcements," announced Nelson Mandela Foundation on Thursday. "We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to our nation and to the world."
Here are 10 Most Important Events in Nelson Mandela's Life:
Born on18 July, 1918 in a small village of Mvezo, Umtata district in South Africa, Nelson Mandela attended the University of Fort Hare but was expelled for political activism in 1940. He joined the African National Congress in 1944. He along with his friend Oliver Tambo and several others formed the Youth League of the African National Congress with the hope of strengthening the movement against apartheid.
Mandela eventually became a prominent member of African National Congress. He was arrested several times for rebellious activities in 1950s and was charged with treason in 1956. He was acquitted from treason charges in 1961 after six years of trial.
Mandela married Winnie Madikizela in 1958 after his 13-year marriage with Evelyn Ntoko ended in a divorce. He wrote in his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom: "I cannot say for certain if there is such a thing as love at first sight, but I do know that the moment I first glimpsed (at) Winnie Nomzamo, I knew that I wanted to have her as my wife."
After the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, where many black protesters were killed by the police, Mandela drifted from his non-violence stance by organizing armed struggle with Umkhonto we Sizwe group. He went to Africa and Europe to study guerrilla warfare.
Arrest and Imprisonment
Nelson Mandela was arrested on his return to South Africa in 1960. He was convicted of illegally leaving the country and inciting military attacks. He was initially sentenced to rigorous imprisonment but the sentence was later extended to life imprisonment after the government convicted him of treason.
Death of His Mother and Eldest Son
His mother Noqaphi Nosekeni and eldest son Thembi died in 1968 while he was serving life sentence on Robben Island. He was not allowed to visit the funeral of both his mother and son.
Release from Prison
South African President F.W. De Klerk lifted ban on ANC and started doing away with apartheid regime soon after coming to power. Mandela was released from prison on 11 February, 1990 after 27 years of imprisonment. His release was welcomed by not only South Africans from people from all over the world.
Nobel Peace Prize
Nelson Mandela was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He shared the coveted prize with South African President F.W. De Klerk who secured the release of Mandela and brought apartheid regime to an end.
Elected President of South Africa
Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in 1994, becoming the first black president in the country. He gave his farewell as the president of South Africa on 29 March 1999 after serving the country for five years.
Retiring from Retirement
A few years after retiring from political life, Nelson Mandela announced his retirement from public life in 2004 amid ill health. Nelson Mandela Foundation discouraged invitations to public events but the legend continued to earnestly world for his Nelson Mandela Foundation. In 2009, the United Nations declared his birthday, 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day.
File photo of African National Congress leaders Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo meeting for the first time after 28 years in Sweden
File photo of Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his wife Winnie, walking out of the Victor Verster prison, near Cape Town
File photo of former South African President Nelson Mandela waving to the crowd during the closing ceremony for the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg
File picture shows U.S. President George W. Bush
meeting with former South African president Nelson Mandela in the White House
File picture shows South African President Nelson Mandela adjusting his sunglasses as he and his companion Grace Machel set sail aboard the QE II cruise ship in Durban harbour, for Cape Town
File picture shows South African President Nelson Mandela and U.S. pop star Whitney Houston posing for photographers in Pretoria
File picture shows South African President Nelson Mandela guiding Pope John Paul II after they met at Johannesburg International Airport
File picture shows South African President Nelson Mandela raising his arms in jubilation as Springbok captain Francois Pienaar holds aloft the Webb Ellis Cup after South Africa's victory over New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg
File photo of South African President Nelson Mandela presenting Springbok captain Francois Pienaar with the William Webb Ellis Cup after his team defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg
File picture shows former South African president Nelson Mandela chatting with England's soccer captain David Beckham in Johannesburg
File picture shows South African President Nelson Mandela and Brazilian Sport Minister and former soccer player Pele smiling in Pretoria
File photo of former South African president Nelson Mandela being assisted by Britain's PM Tony Blair and former U.S. president Bill Clinton at Westminster Hall in London
File picture shows South African President Nelson Mandela sharing a joke with Microsoft
Chairman Bill Gates
after their meeting at Mandela's residence in Cape Town
File photo of South African President Nelson Mandela and U.S. pop star Michael Jackson hugging each other in Cape Town
File photo of Diana, Britain's Princess of Wales, and South African President Nelson Mandela in Cape Town
File photo of African National Congress President Nelson Mandela demonstrating his soccer skills at a rally in the western Transvaal province
File photo of South Africa's President Nelson Mandela and Britain's Queen Elizabeth outside Buckingham Palace
File photo of former South African president Nelson Mandela lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy that was presented to him by the Springboks in Houghton, Johannesburg
File photo of South African President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela at a ceremony in Oslo
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