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Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader. A Xhosa, in the 1940s he joined the African National Congress (ANC) party and campaigned against the white-only government's system of apartheid, a form of racial segregation that privileged whites. An African nationalist and socialist, in 1961 he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe, which led a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. He was arrested in 1962, convicted of conspiring to overthrow the state, and imprisoned for 27 years. Released in 1990 amid growing ethnic strife and violence, he became leader of the ANC and helped negotiate an end to apartheid with President F. W. de Klerk. In the country's first multi-racial election, in 1994, he was elected President of South Africa. His administration stressed racial reconciliation and measures to alleviate poverty. He retired in 1999 to focus on philanthropic causes. Controversial throughout much of his life, in South Africa he is widely regarded as the "Father of the Nation". (Full article...)

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