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The Life of Nelson Mandela

Historical photos from Mandela's postprison years and meeting with U.S. leaders.

July 18, 2014

After spending almost three decades as a political prisoner in his own country, Nelson Mandela emerged from his cell and quickly became one of the most revered world leaders. July 18, Mandel's birthday, has been named International Nelson Mandela Day in his honor. Mandela died last year after a long battle with a respiratory infection, at the age of 95. 

Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress member Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, raise fists upon Mandela's release from Victor Verster prison on Feb. 11, 1990, in Paarl, South Africa.(ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Nelson Mandela waves to the media and fans after making a joint statement with President George H. W. Bush on the White House South Lawn, June 25, 1990.(KEVIN LARKIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mandela acknowledges applause from members of the Senate and House of Representatives, June 26, 1990. He was only the third private citizen in history to address a joint meeting of Congress. Standing behind Mandela are House Speaker Thomas Foley, left, and Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd.(KEVIN LARKIN/AFP/Getty Images)


Mandela at a funeral for 12 people who died during township unrest in Soweto, South Africa, Sept. 20, 1990.(ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Mandela greets supporters behind the fence in the mining town of Randfontein, west of Johannesburg, Nov. 25, 1993. He toured the area as part of his campaign for the 1994 presidential election.(WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

African National Congress youth members wait for ANC President Nelson Mandela atop a billboard in a township outside Durban, April 16, 1994, before an election rally.(ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)


South African President Nelson Mandela takes the oath of office on May 10, 1994, at the Union Building in Pretoria.(WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

South African President Nelson Mandela visits his former cell on Feb. 10, 1995, at the notorious Robben Island prison off the coast of Cape Town, where he spent 19 of his 27 years in jail.(GUY TILLIM/AFP/Getty Images)

Mandela welcomes Pope John Paul II to South Africa, Sept. 16, 1995, at Johannesburg airport. It was the pontiff's first official visit to the country.(WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)


President Mandela goes on a walkabout round Trafalgar Square in London on his way to South Africa House, where he made a speech from the balcony.(POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

South African President Nelson Mandela is applauded by President Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich after Mandela received the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony on Sept. 23, 1998. Mandela was making his farewell visit to the U.S. before retiring from politics in 1999.(WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

President George W. Bush and former South African President Nelson Mandela offer their condolences to the relatives of the victims of American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed with 246 passengers and nine crew members aboard in the Queens neighborhood of New York City.(Manny Ceneta/Getty Images)


New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani watches as former South African President Nelson Mandela signs the Wall of Nations, which represents the countries that lost citizens in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, during a tour of Ground Zero, Nov. 15, 2001.(EZIO PETERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mandela celebrate his birthday surrounded by his grandchildren during an interview with the media at his house in Qunu, July 18, 2008.(THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Former South African President Nelson Mandela gives Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a thumbs-up during a meeting in Johannesburg, Aug. 7, 2009.(DENIS FARRELL/AFP/Getty Images))


The newly installed statue of South African leader Nelson Mandela in front of the South African Embassy, as remodeling is ongoing, Dec. 5, 2013, in Washington.(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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