Kolkata, Jul 18 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday paid homage to Nelson Mandela, statesman and anti-apartheid activist, on his 101st birth anniversary “Homage to Nelson Mandela, statesman and anti-apartheid activist, on his 101st birth anniversary,” Ms Banerjee tweeted.
Born on this day in 1918, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation.
Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997. Mandela served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison. Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990.
Mandela and de Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president. He declined a second presidential term, and in 1999 was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman and focused on combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the charitable Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela received more than 250 honours—including the Nobel Peace Prize and became the subject of a cult of personality. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, and described as the "Father of the Nation".After suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection, Mandela died on December 5, 2013. (UNI)