Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president

Nelson Mandela, a world-renowned activist, and symbol of the anti-apartheid movement, became South Africa’s first black president on May 10th, 1994. His election marked a turning point in South Africa’s history, as it was the first time in the country’s history that black citizens were able to participate in free and fair elections.


Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. He was the son of a tribal chief, and as a young man, he became involved in politics and activism. Mandela studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and he became a leader in the African National Congress (ANC), an organization that was dedicated to fighting against the discriminatory policies of apartheid.

Nelson Mandela’s Activism and Imprisonment

In the early 1950s, Mandela began his political activism, organizing protests against the apartheid government. He played a crucial role in the formation of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), which was responsible for sabotage campaigns against government installations. In 1962, Mandela was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in anti-apartheid activities.

Mandela spent the next 27 years of his life in prison, becoming a symbol of the struggle against apartheid. His imprisonment helped to galvanize the international community’s support for the anti-apartheid movement.

Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa's first black president

The End of Apartheid

In the 1980s, pressure began to mount on the apartheid government to end its discriminatory policies. The government began to make political reforms and negotiate with the ANC. Mandela was released from prison in 1990, and he became a key figure in the negotiations for a new, democratic South Africa.

In 1994, South Africa held its first free and fair elections, and Mandela was elected as the country’s first black president. The end of apartheid marked a new era of hope for South Africa, as it began to rebuild itself as a united and democratic nation.

Mandela’s Presidency

Mandela served as South Africa’s president from 1994 to 1999. During his presidency, he focused on reconciliation and healing the wounds of apartheid. Mandela’s leadership style was characterized by his commitment to inclusiveness and his ability to bring people together.

Mandela’s legacy extends far beyond his time in office. He is remembered as a symbol of hope and a champion of human rights. His leadership and dedication to social justice continue to inspire people around the world.


Nelson Mandela’s life and achievements are a testament to the power of perseverance and the human spirit. His unwavering commitment to justice and equality have left a lasting impact on South Africa and the world. As we celebrate the anniversary of his election as South Africa’s first black president, we should remember his legacy and continue to work towards a more just and equitable world.

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