My history hero: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Former footballer Sol Campbell explains why he admires anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie Mandela upon his release from prison. (Photo by Allan Tannenbaum/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the July 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) was an anti-apartheid activist, revolutionary and president of South Africa from 1994–99. After rising to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign – a protest against the country’s apartheid laws – the young lawyer was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial (1956–61). However, in 1964 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his opposition to the regime. He was to serve 27 years in prison, most notably on Robben Island. On his release, after being elected his country’s first black leader, Mandela’s government focused on tackling the legacy of decades of apartheid.

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