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Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality. "Long Walk to Freedom" is his moving autobiography, Here, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells the extraordinary story of his life - an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph, which has, until now, been virtually unknown to most of the world.
The foster son of a Thembu chief, Mandela was raised in the traditional, tribal culture of his ancestors, but at an early age learned the modern, inescapable reality of what came to be called apartheid, one of the most powerful and effective systems of oppression ever conceived. In engrossing prose, he tells of his early years as an impoverished student and law clerk in Johannesburg, of his slow political awakening, and of his pivotal role in the rebirth of a stagnant ANC and the formation of its Youth League in the 1950s. He describes the struggle to reconcile his political activity with his devotion to his family, the anguished breakup of his first marriage, and the painful separations from his children. He also brings to life the escalating political warfare in the 1950s between the ANC and the government, culminating in his dramatic escapades as an underground leader and the notorious Rivonia Trial of 1964, at which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He recounts the surprisingly eventful 27 years in prison and the complex, delicate negotiations that led both to his freedom and to the beginning of the end of apartheid.
Finally, he provides the inside account of the unforgettable events since his release that produced at last a free, multiracial democracy in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela became the democratically elected, first black president of the republic of South Africa on 27 April 1994.