Anti-apartheid activist and politician Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was inaugurated as the first fully democratically elected president of South Africa and also the nation’s first Black president on May 10, 1994.
Before he served as president, Mandela worked tirelessly to obtain freedom and equal rights for people of color from South Africa’s white-ruled apartheid government. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his activism during the repressive apartheid regime. He retired from politics in 1999 after serving as president for five years.
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(Photo: WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)