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Nelson Mandela
1918 -

President of South Africa (1994- ), leader of the African National Congress (ANC), lifelong anti-apartheid activist who spent 27 years in prison for his role in leading the ANC through violent and non-violent activities to end apartheid in South Africa, author of Long Walk To Freedom (1995)


I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is this ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

from a statement made during the Rivonia trial, in which he was tried for sabotage
Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.

I am happy to be out of jail - for the second time.

Jul. 19, 1999 - on retiring as President of South Africa, as quoted by Time Magazine