Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. As a highly respected figure within the ANC he remained an inspirational and enlightening role model for many of his fellow inmates. In the outside world he became an icon, who was globally synonymous with the struggle for human rights and resistance to oppression. Mandela was offered opportunities for a conditional release from prison, for example if he renounced his political activism. However, he was adamant that "only free men can negotiate" and thus requested his unconditional freedom.
Mandela was released on 11th February 1990 and voted President of the ANC,whose ban had been lifted. In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with South African President FW de Klerk in recognition of their joint efforts to bring about a peaceful transition in South Africa. Nelson Mandela donated all his prize money to a variety of children's charities, as he recognised that they were the most vulnerable and most in need of assistance.
South Africa's first democratic elections took place in April 1994 and Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa on May 10th 1994.
Continuing his commitment to the needs of children in the newly democratic South Africa, President Mandela committed one third of his salary to the charity he established, The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. He firmly believed in providing important life opportunities for those who had long been denied them and was determined to focus upon children as the best way to help achieve his new vision for South Africa.
He established three charities to continue the work that he had started, and saw as essential to the future of South Africa: The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, The Mandela Rhodes Foundation and The Nelson Mandela Foundation.
President Mandela's example of forgiveness towards his oppressors and his determination to lead a united South Africa enabled him to move his country into a new era of peace and reconciliation. During a peaceful retirement, he spent his days with his friends and family and supporting his charitable organisations, until his passing in December 2013. He was mourned across the globe and is much missed by his friends, family and countrymen. All his charities work tirelessly to fulfil his vision for South Africa and continue his legacy beyond his lifetime.