Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa. He attended school and later college at the College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand. At Witwatersrand, Mandela became a lawyer and met some of his fellow activists against apartheid.
He became a leader in the African National Congress (ANC). At first he pushed hard for the congress and the protesters to follow Gandhi's non-violence approach. At one point he started to doubt that this approach would work and started up an armed branch of the ANC. He planned to bomb certain buildings, but only the buildings. He wanted to make sure than no one would be hurt. He was classified as a terrorist by the South African government and sent to prison. His prison sentence brought international visibility to the anti-apartheid movement. He was finally released through international pressure in 1990. In 1993, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
He spent 27 years in prison. He refused to bend on his principals in order to be released and stated that he would die for his ideals. He wanted all people of all races to have equal rights in South Africa.
Once released from prison, Nelson continued his campaign to end apartheid. Black people were not allowed to vote in South Africa, but because of his hard work and effort, all races were allowed to vote in the 1994 election. Nelson Mandela won the election and became president of South Africa.