Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xo?li??a?a man?de?la]; born 18 July 1918) is a South African politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first ever to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before being elected President, Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, and the leader and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life. Mandela went on to serve 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to the establishment of democracy in 1994. As President, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation, while introducing policies aimed at combating poverty and inequality in South Africa.
In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name; or as tata (Xhosa: father). Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades.
Nelson Mandela belongs to a cadet branch of the Thembu dynasty, which reigns in the Transkei region of South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. He was born in Mvezo, a small village located in the district of Umtata. He has Khoisan ancestry on his mother's side. His patrilineal great-grandfather Ngubengcuka (who died in 1832), ruled as the Inkosi Enkhulu, or king, of the Thembu people. One of the king's sons, named Mandela, became Nelson's grandfather and the source of his surname. However, because he was only the Inkosi's child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan (the so-called "Left-Hand House"), the descendants of his branch of the royal family were not eligible to succeed to the Thembu throne.
Nelson Mandela circa 1937
After the 1948 election victory of the Afrikaner-dominated National Party, which supported the apartheid policy of racial segregation, Mandela began actively participating in politics. He led prominently in the ANC's 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People, whose adoption of the Freedom Charter provided the fundamental basis of the anti-apartheid cause. During this time, Mandela and fellow lawyer Oliver Tambo operated the law firm of Mandela and Tambo, providing free or low-cost legal counsel to many blacks who lacked attorney representation.
Mahatma Gandhi influenced Mandela's approach, and subsequently the methods of succeeding generations of South African anti-apartheid activists. (Mandela later took part in the 29–30 January 2007 conference in New Delhi marking the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's introduction of satyagraha (non-violent resistance) in South Africa).
Armed anti-apartheid activities
In 1961 Mandela became leader of the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (translated Spear of the Nation, and also abbreviated MK), which he co-founded. He coordinated sabotage campaigns against military and government targets, making plans for a possible guerrilla war if the sabotage failed to end apartheid. Mandela also raised funds for MK abroad and arranged for paramilitary training of the group.
Fellow ANC member Wolfie Kodesh explains the bombing campaign led by Mandela: "When we knew that we [sic] going to start on 16 December 1961, to blast the symbolic places of apartheid, like pass offices, native magistrates courts, and things like that ... post offices and ... the government offices. But we were to do it in such a way that nobody would be hurt, nobody would get killed." Mandela said of Wolfie: "His knowledge of warfare and his first hand battle experience were extremely helpful to me."
Later, mostly in the 1980s, MK, the organisation co-founded by Mandela, waged a guerrilla war against the apartheid government in which many civilians became casualties.. For example, the Church Street bomb in Pretoria killed 19 people and injured 217. After he had become President, Mandela later admitted that the ANC, in its struggle against apartheid, also violated human rights, criticising those in his own party who attempted to remove statements mentioning this from the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Until July 2008 Mandela and ANC party members were barred from entering the United States—except to visit the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan—without a special waiver from the US Secretary of State, because of their South African apartheid government era designation as terrorists.
Arrest and Rivonia trial
On 5 August 1962 Mandela was arrested after living on the run for seventeen months, and was imprisoned in the Johannesburg Fort. The arrest was made possible because the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) allegedly tipped off the security police as to Mandela's whereabouts and disguise. Three days later, the charges of leading workers to strike in 1961 and leaving the country illegally were read to him during a court appearance. On 25 October 1962, Mandela was sentenced to five years in prison.
While Mandela was imprisoned, police arrested prominent ANC leaders on 11 July 1963, at Liliesleaf Farm, Rivonia, north of Johannesburg. Mandela was brought in, and at the Rivonia Trial they were charged by the chief prosecutor Dr. Percy Yutar with four charges of the capital crimes of sabotage (which Mandela admitted) and crimes which were equivalent to treason, but easier for the government to prove. They were also charged with plotting a foreign invasion of South Africa, which Mandela denied. The specifics of the charges to which Mandela admitted complicity involved conspiring with the African National Congress and South African Communist Party to the use of explosives to destroy water, electrical, and gas utilities in the Republic of South Africa.
Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island where he remained for the next eighteen of his twenty-seven years in prison. While in jail, his reputation grew and he became widely known as the most significant black leader in South Africa. On the island, he and others performed hard labour in a lime quarry. Prison conditions were very basic. Prisoners were segregated by race, with black prisoners receiving the fewest rations. Political prisoners were kept separate from ordinary criminals and received fewer privileges. Mandela describes how, as a D-group prisoner (the lowest classification) he was allowed one visitor and one letter every six months Letters, when they came, were often delayed for long periods and made unreadable by the prison censors.
On the day of his release, Mandela said his main focus was to bring peace to the black majority and give them the right to vote in both national and local elections.
Following his release from prison, Mandela returned to the leadership of the ANC and, between 1990 and 1994, led the party in the multi-party negotiations that led to the country's first multi-racial elections.
Presidency of South Africa
South Africa's first multi-racial elections in which full enfranchisement was granted were held on 27 April 1994. The ANC won 62% of the votes in the election, and Mandela, as leader of the ANC, was inaugurated on 10 May 1994 as the country's first black President, with the National Party's de Klerk as his first deputy and Thabo Mbeki as the second in the Government of National Unity. As President from May 1994 until June 1999, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation. Mandela encouraged black South Africans to get behind the previously hated Springboks (the South African national rugby team) as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After the Springboks won an epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar's own number 6 on the back. This was widely seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.
After assuming the presidency, one of Mandela's trademarks was his use of Batik shirts, known as "Madiba shirts", even on formal occasions. In South Africa's first post-apartheid military operation, Mandela ordered troops into Lesotho in September 1998 to protect the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. This came after a disputed election prompted fierce opposition threatening the unstable government. Commentators and critics including AIDS activists such as Edwin Cameron have criticised Mandela for his government's ineffectiveness in stemming the AIDS crisis. After his retirement, Mandela admitted that he may have failed his country by not paying more attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Mandela has since spoken out on several occasions about the AIDS epidemic.
Mandela became the oldest elected President of South Africa when he took office at the age of 75 in 1994. He decided not to stand for a second term and retired in 1999, to be succeeded by Thabo Mbeki.
After his retirement as President, Mandela went on to become an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organisations. He has expressed his support for the international Make Poverty History movement of which the ONE Campaign is a part. The Nelson Mandela Invitational charity golf tournament, hosted by Gary Player, has raised over twenty million rand for children's charities since its inception in 2000. This annual special event has become South Africa's most successful charitable sports gathering and benefits both the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Gary Player Foundation equally for various children's causes around the world.
Eve Fairbanks of Newsweek said "Mandela rightly occupies an untouched place in the South African imagination. He's the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one".
In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela's birthday, 18 July, is to be known as "Mandela Day" to mark his contribution to world freedom.
Orders and decorations
Mandela has received many South African, foreign and international honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 (which was shared with Frederik Willem de Klerk), the Order of Merit from, and creation as, a Baliff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John by Queen Elizabeth II and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. In July 2004, the city of Johannesburg bestowed its highest honour on Mandela by granting him the freedom of the city at a ceremony in Orlando, Soweto.
As an example of his popular foreign acclaim, during his tour of Canada in 1998, 45,000 school children greeted him with adulation at a speaking engagement in the SkyDome in the city of Toronto. In 2001, he was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen (the only previous recipient, Raoul Wallenberg, was awarded honorary citizenship posthumously). While in Canada, he was also made an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the few foreigners to receive the honour.
In 1990 he received the Bharat Ratna Award from the government of India and also received the last ever Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union. In 1992 he was awarded the Atatürk Peace Award by Turkey. He refused the award citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at the time, but later accepted the award in 1999. In 1992 he received of Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civil service award of Pakistan.
Early life and education
Larry Page was born in Lansing, Michigan. His father, Carl Page, earned a Ph.D. in computer science in 1965 when the field was in its infancy, and is considered a "pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence." Both he and Page's mother were computer science professors at Michigan State University. Gloria Page, his mother, is Jewish but he was raised without religion.
Page attended the Okemos Montessori School (now called Montessori Radmoor) in Okemos, Michigan from 1975 to 1979, and graduated from East Lansing High School in 1991. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Michigan with honors and a Master of Science in computer science from Stanford University. While at the University of Michigan, "Page created an inkjet printer made of Lego bricks" (actually a line plotter), served as the president of the Eta Kappa Nu in Fall 1994, and was a member of the 1993 "Maize & Blue" University of Michigan Solar Car team.
During an interview, Page recalled his childhood, noting that his house "was usually a mess, with computers and Popular Science magazines all over the place". His attraction to computers started when he was six years old when he got to "play with the stuff lying around". He became the "first kid in his elementary school to turn in an assignment from a word processor." His older brother also taught him to take things apart, and before long he was taking "everything in his house apart to see how it worked". He said that "from a very early age, I also realized I wanted to invent things. So I became really interested in technology...and business . . . probably from when I was 12, I knew I was going to start a company eventually".
After enrolling for a Ph.D. program in computer science at Stanford University, Larry Page was in search of a dissertation theme and considered exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor Terry Winograd encouraged him to pursue this idea, which Page later recalled as "the best advice I ever got". Page then focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks to be valuable information about that page (with the role of citations in academic publishing in mind). In his research project, nicknamed "BackRub", he was soon joined by Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford Ph.D. student.
John Battelle, co-founder of Wired magazine, wrote of Page that he had reasoned that the "entire Web was loosely based on the premise of citation – after all, what is a link but a citation? If he could devise a method to count and qualify each backlink on the Web, as Page puts it 'the Web would become a more valuable place'." Battelle further described how Page and Brin began working together on the project:
"At the time Page conceived of BackRub, the Web comprised an estimated 10 million documents, with an untold number of links between them. The computing resources required to crawl such a beast were well beyond the usual bounds of a student project. Unaware of exactly what he was getting into, Page began building out his crawler.
"The idea's complexity and scale lured Brin to the job. A polymath who had jumped from project to project without settling on a thesis topic, he found the premise behind BackRub fascinating. "I talked to lots of research groups" around the school, Brin recalls, "and this was the most exciting project, both because it tackled the Web, which represents human knowledge, and because I liked Larry".
Brin and Page originally met in March 1995, during a spring orientation of new computer Ph.D. candidates. Page, who had already been in the program for two years, was assigned to show some students, including Brin, around campus, and they later became good friends.
To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub's web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to existing ones. It relied on a new kind of technology that analyzed the relevance of the back links that connected one Web page to another. In August 1996, the initial version of Google was made available, still on the Stanford University Web site.
Page at the European Parliament in June 17, 2009
In 1998, Brin and Page founded Google, Inc. Page ran Google as co-president along with Brin until 2001 when they hired Eric Schmidt as Chairman and CEO of Google. In January 2011 Google announced that Page would replace Schmidt as CEO in April the same year. Both Page and Brin earn an annual compensation of one dollar. On April 4, 2011, Page officially became the chief executive of Google, while Schmidt stepped down to become executive chairman.
Page married Lucinda Southworth at Richard Branson's Caribbean island, Necker Island in 2007. Southworth is a research scientist and sister of actress and model Carrie Southworth. They have one child.
Page is an active investor in alternative energy companies, such as Tesla Motors, which developed the Tesla Roadster, a 244-mile (393 km) range battery electric vehicle. He continues to be committed to renewable energy technology, and with the help of Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, promotes the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric cars and other alternative energy investments.
Brin and Page are the executive producers of the 2007 film Broken Arrows.
Awards and recognition
PC Magazine has praised Google as among the Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines (1998) and awarded Google the Technical Excellence Award, for Innovation in Web Application Development in 1999. In 2000, Google earned a Webby Award, a People's Voice Award for technical achievement, and in 2001, was awarded Outstanding Search Service, Best Image Search Engine, Best Design, Most Webmaster Friendly Search Engine, and Best Search Feature at the Search Engine Watch Awards."
In 2002, Page, along with Sergey Brin, was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100, as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.
In 2003, both Brin and Page received an honorary MBA from IE Business School "for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and lending momentum to the creation of new businesses...." And in 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation Prize, the "Highest Award in Engineering," and were elected Fellows of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University. "In announcing their selection, John Jay Iselin, the Foundation's president, congratulated the two men for their invention that has fundamentally changed the way information is retrieved today." They joined a "select cadre of 32 of the world's most influential communications technology pioneers...." He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004. In 2005, Brin and Page were elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2002 the World Economic Forum named Page a Global Leader for Tomorrow and in 2004 the X PRIZE chose Page as a trustee for their board.
In 2004, Page and Brin were named "Persons of the Week" by ABC World News Tonight. Page received an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan in 2009 during graduation commencement ceremonies.
In 2011, he was ranked 24th on the Forbes list of billionaires and as the 11th richest person in the United States.