The most prominent leader in the struggle of South African blacks against apartheid. Mandela joined the radical African National Congress (ANC) in the 1940s, and in the 1960s he was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage and conspiracy by the white minority government of South Africa. Even in prison he remained the acknowledged leader of the ANC. In 1990, the white government released him from jail as part of a series of moves to reach a compromise with the blacks. After his release, Mandela was elected South Africa's president in the nation's first all-race elections. In 1993, he was a cowinner of the Nobel Prize for peace.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.