Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
A Freedom fighter, prisoner, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression. That was Nelson Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid. He died Thursday night at age 95.
A view of Nelson Mandela's former prison cell on Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. He was released in 1990 after serving 27 years in prison. (Source: AlJazeera).
A file photo dated 06 August 1990 of Former South Africa's President Nelson Mandela (right), representing the African National Congress (ANC), beginning peace talks known as the "Pretoria Minute" with incumbent State President FW de Klerk (left) at the Presidency in Pretoria, South Africa. (Source: AlJazeera)
His message of reconciliation, not vengeance, inspired the world after he negotiated a peaceful end to segregation and urged forgiveness for the white government that imprisoned him. "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison," Mandela said after he was freed in in 1990.
Nelson Mandela and his first Wife, Winnie Mandela walking hand-in-hand upon his release from prison in Cape Town, South Africa. They divorced in 1996. (AP photo file)
Nelson Mandela (right) holds the arm of the former apartheid hardline President Pieter W. Botha, as they met on November 21, 1995. P.W. Botha's iron-fisted rule of South Africa from 1978 until 1989 earned him the nickname of "Great Crocodile". (Photo by Walter Dhladhla/AFP)
An undated file photo of Nelson Mandela (right) talking to South Africa's last apartheid President FW de Klerk (left) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa. (Source: AlJazeera)
Nelson Mandela takes the oath on 10 May 1994 during his inauguration at the Union Building in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Walter Dhladhla/AFP)
Mandela, a former South Africa's President, battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.