A Brief Biography of Nelson Mandela, by Bahman Baktiari • The 1993 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela was born in South Africa in 1918. An attorney, Mandela became part of the African National Congress in 1944 and fought against apartheid starting in 1948. Charges of treason were brought against him in the 1950s, and he stood on trial for five years before being acquitted in 1961. • The following year, Nelson Mandela was arrested due to his involvement in the creation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, a military branch of the African National Congress. In 1963, Mandela and the other leaders behind the movement were charged with treason. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. For 26 years, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned at Robben Island Prison and at Pollsmoor Prison. However, his stand against injustice and his unwillingness to compromise led him to receive a significant international reputation. • In 1990, the South African government released him from prison. Prior to acquiring the Noble Peace Prize, he restored the African National Congress and became its President while playing an important role in ending apartheid. About the Author: Bahman Baktiari is the current Executive Director for the International Foundation for Civil Society, which works with other organizations and educational institutions to advance the values of civil society. The International Foundation for Civil Society considers Nelson Mandela a powerful symbol of freedom and human dignity.