A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, studying law. Living inJohannesburg townships and becoming involved in anti-colonial politics, he joined the ANC, becoming a founding member of its Youth League. When the white supremacist National Party government implemented apartheid in 1948, he rose to prominence in the ANC's 1952 Defiance Campaign, being elected president of the Transvaal ANC branch and overseeing the 1955 Congress of the People. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and with the ANC leadership stood on the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the South African Communist Party he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961, leading a bombing campaign against government targets. In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, being sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mandela served time in Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and then Victor Verster Prison while an international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted after 27 years in 1990. Becoming ANC president, Mandela wrote his autobiography, and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multi-racial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to... [continues]
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