He earned (1942) a law degree from the Univ. of South Africa and was prominent in Johannesburg's youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1952 he became deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid. However, after a group of peaceful demonstrators were massacred (1960) in Sharpeville, Mandela organized a paramilitary branch of the ANC to carry out guerrilla warfare against the South African government. After being acquitted (1962) on charges of treason, he was subsequently arrested (1964) and sent to prison, where he became the leading symbol of South African repression. Released in 1990 as an expression of de Klerk's committment to change, Mandela was elected (July, 1991) ANC president after a triumphal global tour. He has represented the ANC in turbulent negotiations to establish majority rule, and called for an end to factional violence between the ANC and the Buthelezi-led Inkatha movement.
1918–2014, South African political leader.