Prisoner To President: Here Are 30 Interesting Facts About Nelson Mandela On His 105th Birth Anniversary

On this auspicious occasion of the birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela, we celebrate the enduring legacy of a visionary leader. Born on July 18, 1918, Mandela’s life was a testament to courage, resilience and the pursuit of justice. As a defender of human rights, he tirelessly fought against apartheid, risking his freedom to achieve a free and equal South Africa.

Today we remember his unwavering determination, his commitment to reconciliation and his ability to inspire millions around the world. Mandela’s indomitable spirit continues to remind us that change is possible and that each individual has the power to make a difference in creating a more just and compassionate world.


Celebrate the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth with our insightful article featuring 30 interesting facts about the iconic South African leader, including his dedication to reconciliation, his passion for sports and his global influence as a symbol of peace and justice. Please join us in honoring Mandela’s legacy on this special occasion.

1. Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in the town of Mvezo, South Africa.

2. Mandela’s birth name was Rolihlahla Mandela. Nelson was her name in English, given to her by a teacher.

3. Mandela was an accomplished lawyer. He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and then at the University of the Witwatersrand, becoming the first in his family to attend university.

4. He became active in politics in the 1940s and joined the African National Congress (ANC), a political party that fought against apartheid.

5. Mandela was a key figure in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, advocating for equal rights and an end to racial segregation.

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6. In 1964, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and conspiring against the South African government.

7. He spent 27 years in prison, mostly on Robben Island, a maximum security prison off the coast of Cape Town.

8. While in prison, Mandela became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement and gained international recognition for his fight against racial injustice.

9. Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, after the South African government of President FW de Klerk decided to lift the ban on the ANC and release political prisoners.

10. He played a crucial role in negotiating the end of apartheid and the peaceful transition to democracy in South Africa.

Nelson MandelaAFP

11. Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and served as the country’s leader until 1999.

12. As president, Mandela focused on reconciliation and healing the deep wounds caused by apartheid, implementing policies to promote equality and establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

13. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his efforts to dismantle apartheid and promote peace and equality in South Africa.

14. Mandela was known for his remarkable forgiveness and willingness to work with former enemies to build a united and democratic South Africa.

15. After his presidency, Mandela remained an influential global advocate for human rights, poverty reduction and HIV/AIDS awareness.

16. Mandela was the first black South African to serve as vice president (1994–1999) and the first black president of South Africa.

17. He received more than 250 honors and accolades, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

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18. Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” was published in 1994 and became an international bestseller.

19. He was known for his iconic fashion choice, the Madiba shirt, which was a colorful, loose-fit shirt that became synonymous with his style.

20. Mandela was an avid sports fan, particularly fond of boxing and soccer. He used sports as a way to bring people together and bridge racial divides.

21. He was married three times. His first two marriages ended in divorce and his third wife, Graça Machel, was the widow of former Mozambican president Samora Machel.

Nelson MandelaAFP

22. Mandela was fluent in several languages, including Xhosa, his mother tongue, as well as English, Afrikaans and a few other African languages.

23. He founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 1999, which focuses on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS, promoting education, and preserving South Africa’s history and heritage.

24. Mandela was an honorary citizen of many countries, including Canada, the United States, and Brazil.

25. Mandela’s birthday, July 18, is celebrated around the world as Nelson Mandela International Day, a day dedicated to public service and the promotion of Mandela’s values ​​of justice, equality and democracy.

26. Mandela’s prison number on Robben Island was 46664. This number later inspired the name of the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s global HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, 46664.

27. Mandela was a prolific writer and wrote numerous letters, articles and speeches during his lifetime, showcasing his intellect and advocacy for social justice.

28. In 1993, Mandela and President FW de Klerk were jointly awarded UNESCO’s Felix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize for their efforts to peacefully end apartheid.

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29. Mandela was a fervent advocate of education and believed in its transformative power. He once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.”

30. Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95. His legacy as a champion of freedom and equality continues to inspire people around the world.

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