In video: Happy 94th birthday, Nelson Mandela

There is very little we can tell you about Nelson Mandela that you won't find elsewhere on the internet. Or Wikipedia. Mandela was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency. In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island...the usual stuff.

But thanks to the archiving potential of the Internet, we can show you the magnitude of who he was and what he has achieved in his 93 years. The videos below depict how various milestones in his own life were also milestones in modern history.


This video by the Biography Channel, is a great place to start. This biography is just 5 minutes long, but is packed with great footage, pictures, interviews and insights. It also gives a very clear sense of who Mandela is and where he comes from:

This next video from 1961 was Nelson Mandela's first television interview. Taken while Mandela was still underground and before his long imprisonment at Robben island, Mandela, already a leading figure in resistance to apartheid, was asked by ITN's Brian Widlake, for his views about the campaign to secure the franchise for South Africa's black population.

Mandela's 27 year long imprisonment saw him become a symbol for the entire anti-arpatheid movement. He inspired songs, marches, and walks; ensuring that the pressure on South Africa's white government was never lifted. This next video is a performance by Hugh Masekela at Paul Simon's iconic "Graceland' concert in Zimbabwe. The song is titled'Bring back Nelson Mandela':

Nelson Mandela's release: original footage from the BBC video archive:

1994: Nelson Mandela takes his oaths as South Africa's first black president:

One of Mandela's greatest coups as President was how he brought his divided nation together by uniting them under the banner of the "Springboks" and successfully bidding to host the Rugby world cup in South Africa. This is a great documentary detailing the magnitude of what he achieved and how he achieved it:

Updated Date: Jul 18, 2012 16:45 PM

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