He was loved and admired the world over. From Cape Town to California, streets named after Mandela abound. Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on December 5, 2013.
Mandela was imprisoned from 1962-1990 for treason and conspiracy against the government. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was released early when the ANC became legal again. Nelson Mandela’s government focused on destroying the Apartheid government in the country, which had focused on racial segregation enforced by the law.
In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July "Nelson Mandela International Day" in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.
General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
Every year on 18 July — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.
For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.