Slideshow

The Life of Nelson Mandela

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

July 18, 2014, 10:29 a.m.

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 (ANC) member Nelson Mandela (C, L) and his wife Winnie raise fists upon Mandela's release from Victor Verster prison on February 11, 1990 in Paarl. AFP/Getty Images
South African anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela (L) waves to the media and fans 25 June 1990 after finishing his joint statement with former US President George Bush (R) on the White House South Lawn in Washington,DC.  AFP/Getty Images
South African anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela raises his arms to acknowledge applause from members of the Senate and House of Representatives 26 June 1990. Nelson Mandela is the third private citizen in history to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. Standing above Mandela are House Speaker Thomas Foley (L) and Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd. AFP/Getty Images
Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela addresses at a funeral of 12 people died during recent township unrests in Soweto, 20 September 1990, in Soweto.  AFP/Getty Images
RANDFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA: African National Congress (ANC) President Nelson Mandela greets supporters behind the fence in a mining town of Randfontein west of Johannesburg 25 November 1993. Mandela tours the area as part of his campaign for the 27 April 1994 election.  AFP/Getty Images
A file photo showing South African President Nelson Mandela taking the oath of office on May 10, 1994 during his inauguration at the Union Building in Pretoria. South Africa's newly-elected parliament will be treated to some "Madiba Magic" 10 May 2004 when national icon Nelson Mandela delivers a special address to mark a decade of freedom. Mandela, affectionately known by his clan name Madiba, will address a joint sitting of parliament in Cape Town 10 years to the day after he was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president on May 10, 1994.  AFP/Getty Images
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 10: South African President President Nelson Mandela visits 10 February 1995 his former cell in notorious Robben Island prison off the coast of Cape Town where he spent 19 of his 27 years in jail.  AFP/Getty Images
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 16: Pope John Paul II (R) shown in a file photo dated 16 September 1995 being welcomed by South African President Nelson Mandela upon his arrival at Johannesburg airport for the pontiff's first official visit to the country.  AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 12: South African President Nelson Mandela goes on a walkabout round Trafalgar Square in London 12 July on his way to South Africa House, where he made a speech from the balcony to the crowds. Mandela was on the last day of his four-day state visit to the UK.   AFP/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: South African President Nelson Mandela (C) is applauded by US President Bill Clinton (R) and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (L) after Mandela received the Congressional Gold Medal in ceremonies 23 September on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Mandela is making his farewell visit to the US before retiring from politics in 1999. (Photo credit should read) AFP/Getty Images
US President George W. Bush and former South African president Nelson Mandela (L) offer their condolences to the relatives of the victims of American Airlines flight 587 with 246 passengers and nine crewmembers aboard which crashed in the Queens neighborhood of New York City, November 12, 2001, in Washington, DC.  Getty Images
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (L) watches former South African President Nelson Mandela signs the Wall of Nations which represents the countries that lost individuals during the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center site, during a tour of Ground Zero, 15 November, 2001.  AFP/Getty Images
Former South African President Nelson Mandela (C) celebrate his birthday surrounded by his grandchildren during an interview with the media at his house in Qunu, on July 18, 2008. Former South African president Nelson Mandela bemoaned the growing gap between rich and poor in his country as he marked his 90th birthday. AFP/Getty Images
Former South African President, Nelson Mandela (R) gives US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) the thumbs up during a meeting in Johannesburg on August 7, 2009. The United States and South Africa are working together to realise democracy, freedom and prosperity in Zimbabwe, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. AFP/Getty Images
The newly installed statue of South African leader Nelson Mandela seen in front of the South African Embassy, as remodeling is ongoing, December 5, 2013, in Washington, DC. Nels AFP/Getty Images
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