Today in World History: August 5th

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned by South African police on this day in 1962, following his role in the protests against Apartheid in the former British colony. Mandela remained imprisoned for twenty-seven years, and upon his release in 1990, Mandela marched out of the prison with his wife, and made global headlines. Released due to the fall of the Soviet Union and the lack of support for the Apartheid regime, Mandela’s release marked the beginning of a new age for South Africa, as he and other leaders went into talks with the South African government to end the discrimination against the majority black population of the country. By the end of the talks, an election date for a new South Africa was set for the 27th of April, 1994. Mandela ran for the position of South Africa’s first president, and with more than sixty percent of the final counts, he became not only the first black leader of South Africa, but the first leader of a new South Africa as well. Mandela held the position for five years before retiring from politics, although he remained active in attempting to keep the peace between the black and the white populations of South Africa, along with advocating for world peace. Despite his and many others’ best efforts, violence between the two populations remains rampant in South Africa, despite their best intentions. Mandela died on the 5th of December, 2013, of a respiratory infection, at the age of ninety-five, a Noble Peace Prize winner and an internationally respected man.

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

-Nelson Mandela

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