1. Nelson Mandela is one of the world's most respected statesmen for leading the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy
2. He was born in 1918 in a small village in the eastern Cape of South Africa. In South Africa, he is often called by his clan name - "Madiba".
3. In 1941, 23-year-old Mandela ran away from an arranged marriage and went to Johannesburg
4. 2 years later, Mandela enrolled for a law degree. He was exposed to liberal, radical and Africanist thought, as well as racism and discrimination, which fuelled his passion for politics.
5. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and fought against the ruling National Party's apartheid policies after 1948
6. In 1962, Mandela was arrested for plotting to overthrow the government for violence. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment.
7. Mandela refused to bargain for freedom in exchange for his political position
8. After 27 years in jail, Mandela was released on 11 Feb 1990.
9. In 1993, Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in peacefully ending the apartheid regime in South Africa
10. Five months later, for the first time in South Africa's history, all races voted in a democratic election
11. Nelson Mandela was overwhelmingly elected as the country's first black president. He is deeply respected and loved by his people.
12. Mandela's government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation
13. In 1999, Mandela retired as the President of South Africa
14. After his retirement, he founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation to focus on combating HIV/AIDS, rural development and school construction
15. He also played a key role in the decision to let South Africa host the 2010 football World Cup
16. After years of suffering from lung infection, 95-year-old Nelson Mandela passed away peacefully in his home on 5 December 2013
PHOTOS: Nelson Mandela in his younger days
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