Accessibility links

Nelson Mandela -- A Life In Pictures

For almost three decades, Nelson Mandela was one of the world's most famous prisoners of conscience. His long incarceration on South Africa's Robben Island on charges of sabotage ensured that he became one of the most potent symbols of the antiapartheid movement. After he was released in 1990, he went on to become South Africa's first president elected in a fully representative multiracial election. He served as president from 1994 to 1999, focusing mainly on dismantling apartheid's legacy. Such was his standing at home and abroad that he received over 250 awards and accolades in his lifetime, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin. He died on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela in the early 1960s before he was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage
1

Nelson Mandela in the early 1960s before he was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage

Antiapartheid activists, including Nelson Mandela, make defiant gestures after being sentenced to life imprisonment in Pretoria in 1964.
2

Antiapartheid activists, including Nelson Mandela, make defiant gestures after being sentenced to life imprisonment in Pretoria in 1964.

Nelson Mandela poses with his second wife Winnie on their wedding day in 1957.
3

Nelson Mandela poses with his second wife Winnie on their wedding day in 1957.

Nelson and Winnie Mandela raise their fists and salute a cheering crowd upon Nelson's release from prison after 27 years.
4

Nelson and Winnie Mandela raise their fists and salute a cheering crowd upon Nelson's release from prison after 27 years.

Nelson Mandela acknowledges the cheers of United Nations delegates during a speech to the UN Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall in June 1990.
5

Nelson Mandela acknowledges the cheers of United Nations delegates during a speech to the UN Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall in June 1990.

Nelson Mandela raises his fist to the crowd while making a speech in Port Elizabeth shortly after his release in 1990.
6

Nelson Mandela raises his fist to the crowd while making a speech in Port Elizabeth shortly after his release in 1990.

Nelson Mandela with then South African President F.W. de Klerk (right) after both men shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993
7

Nelson Mandela with then South African President F.W. de Klerk (right) after both men shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993

Nelson Mandela stares out of the window of the prison cell he occupied on Robben Island for a large portion of his 27-year incarceration in 1994.
8

Nelson Mandela stares out of the window of the prison cell he occupied on Robben Island for a large portion of his 27-year incarceration in 1994.

Nelson Mandela casts his ballot in South Africa's first multiracial elections in April 1994.
9

Nelson Mandela casts his ballot in South Africa's first multiracial elections in April 1994.

Nelson Mandela takes his oath of office during his presidential inauguration in Pretoria in May 1994. 
10

Nelson Mandela takes his oath of office during his presidential inauguration in Pretoria in May 1994. 

Nelson Mandela with Queen Elizabeth II on the first day of his state visit to Britain in 1996.
11

Nelson Mandela with Queen Elizabeth II on the first day of his state visit to Britain in 1996.

U.S. President Bill Clinton (right) and Nelson Mandela peer through the bars of the cell in which Mandela spent 17 years on Robben Island in March 1998.
12

U.S. President Bill Clinton (right) and Nelson Mandela peer through the bars of the cell in which Mandela spent 17 years on Robben Island in March 1998.

Nelson Mandela with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1998.
13

Nelson Mandela with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1998.

Nelson Mandela with Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 2002.
14

Nelson Mandela with Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 2002.

Irish rock star Bono with Nelson Mandela at the latter's residence in Johannesburg in May 2002.
15

Irish rock star Bono with Nelson Mandela at the latter's residence in Johannesburg in May 2002.

U.S. President George W. Bush meets with Nelson Mandela in the Oval Office of the White House in May 2005.
16

U.S. President George W. Bush meets with Nelson Mandela in the Oval Office of the White House in May 2005.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poses for a photograph with Mandela at his home in Qunu in August 2012.
17

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poses for a photograph with Mandela at his home in Qunu in August 2012.

Nelson Mandela's third wife, Graca Machel, fixes her husband's hair during the inauguration of Jacob Zuma as South Africa's president in May 2009. 
18

Nelson Mandela's third wife, Graca Machel, fixes her husband's hair during the inauguration of Jacob Zuma as South Africa's president in May 2009. 

Mandela married Machel on July 18, 1998, his 80th birthday.
19

Mandela married Machel on July 18, 1998, his 80th birthday.

A sculpture of former President Nelson Mandela that was erected near Durban in August 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mandela's capture by apartheid police
20

A sculpture of former President Nelson Mandela that was erected near Durban in August 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mandela's capture by apartheid police

XS
SM
MD
LG