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Dn! In Depth

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president, has died at the age of 95. This page highlights news and excerpts from past Democracy Now! interviews about the life and legacy of Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years, from 1962 to 1990. He was one of the most famous political prisoners in the world and his freedom became a central demand of the international anti-apartheid movement. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and in 1994, four years after his release, he became South Africa’s first black president.

Top Stories

  • Maya_angelou03
    We end our special coverage of the Nelson Mandela memorial with a video message delivered by the renowned poet and author Dr. Maya Angelou in his memory. They first met in 1962 before he...
    Dec 10, 2013 | Story
  • Nelsonmandela02
    South Africa has begun a week of remembrance for Nelson Mandela, who died last week at the age of 95. International leaders, global figures and celebrities will join 95,000 ordinary South...
    Dec 09, 2013 | Story
  • Obama
    Tens of thousands gathered at the FNP Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg today for a memorial to honor Nelson Mandela, who died last week at the age of 95. Nearly 100 heads of state...
    Dec 10, 2013 | Story
  • Trevor_tour_2
    Residents of Soweto began morning outside the former home of Nelson Mandela soon after his death was announced. We go to South Africa to speak with the Soweto-based activist Trevor Ngwane. He reflects on Mandela’s historic legacy but also talks about some of the failings of the new South Africa. For many South Africans, the fight for social and economic justice has not ended.

    Click here to watch our special coverage of the life and legacy...

    Dec 06, 2013 | Story
  • Tutu
    Former archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu attended today’s memorial for Nelson Mandela, but did not speak. But he led a lively tribute Monday evening to honor his close friend. After the fall of apartheid, Tutu headed the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is now 82 years old. The intimate gathering where Tutu spoke in Johannesburg was hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
    Dec 10, 2013 | Story
  • Raulcastro
    Cuban President Raúl Castro was among the speakers at today’s memorial to Nelson Mandela. In an unprecedented exchange, President Obama shook Castro’s hand as he made his way to speak at the podium. "Let us pay tribute to Nelson Mandela,” Castro said. "The ultimate symbol of dignity and unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle, to freedom and justice, a prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation. As...
    Dec 10, 2013 | Story
  • Nkosazana
    African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the organization, spoke at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. She is a former anti-apartheid activist who served as South Africa’s minister of health from 1994 to 1999 under President Mandela. She recalled how Mandela was part of a broader Pan-African struggle for independence. "Wherever he went on our continent, doors were opened, he got...
    Dec 10, 2013 | Story
  • Dilma
    At today’s memorial for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was among the foreign leaders to honor the former South African president and anti-apartheid leader. "He also was a source of inspiration for similar struggles in Brazil and across South America," Rousseff said. "His fight reached way beyond his nation’s border and inspired young men and women to fight for independence and...
    Dec 10, 2013 | Story
  • Mandela_fist_up
    Former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. South African President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela’s death Thursday saying, "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost their father." Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 27 years from 1962 to 1990. In 1994, four years after his release from prison, Mandela became South Africa’s first black...
    Dec 06, 2013 | Story
  • Mandela_and_robinson-2
    In 1964, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island. He would become the most famous political prisoner in the world and his freedom became a central demand of the international anti-apartheid movement. Despite growing international pressure in the 1980s, the apartheid government received strong backing from the Reagan administration and Margaret Thatcher in Britain. The African National Congress was considered a terrorist...
    Dec 06, 2013 | Story
  • Nelson_mandela
    We speak to documentary filmmaker Danny Schechter and Father Michael Lapsley in Cape Town. Schechter has made six nonfiction films on Mandela, including "Mandela in America." He began working in South Africa in the 1960s. He is author of the new book, "Madiba A to Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela," which was published in conjunction with the new film, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." We also speak with Father...
    Dec 06, 2013 | Story
  • Mandela_csea_nyc
    In part 2 of our interview with Danny Schechter, who has made six nonfiction films on Nelson Mandela, including "Mandela in America," he recalls the impact of the anti-apartheid leader’s visit to eight cities, including New York, Detroit, Oakland and Los Angeles. [includes rush transcript]
    Dec 10, 2013 | Web Exclusive
  • Film-livetosing
    As post-apartheid South Africa struggles to fulfill its promise, the new documentary "I Live to Sing" follows three gifted singers at the University of Cape Town Opera School, which was once off-limits to black students. "For many years, opera was viewed in South Africa and elsewhere as a completely European, elitist, white art — both by whites who felt that blacks weren’t going have what it took to sing opera, but...
    Jul 18, 2013 | Story
  • Mandelatour3
    As the world marks the 95th birthday of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and a beloved symbol of the country’s struggle to end apartheid, longtime South African activist Trevor Ngwane takes Democracy Now! on a tour of the township of Soweto. Speaking outside of Mandela’s former home, Ngwane recalls when the ANC leader was first captured, leading to a 27-year imprisonment before his release in 1990. Ngwane...
    Jul 18, 2013 | Story
  • Amys_column_default
    As the world celebrates Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, it is timely to reflect on his life, spent fighting for equality for people of color who long suffered under South Africa’s apartheid regime.
    Jul 18, 2013 | Columns & Articles
  • Amys_column_default
    More than 160 years ago, the greatest abolitionist in U.S. history, the escaped slave Frederick Douglass, addressed the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society.
    Jul 04, 2013 | Columns & Articles
  • Horace-campbell
    In this web-only interview, Syracuse University Professor Horace Campbell reflects on the importance of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle. He also talks about his new book, "Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya." [includes rush transcript]
    Jun 28, 2013 | Web Exclusive
  • Promisedland
    Filmmaker Yoruba Richen describes how the election of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa inspired some of the six million blacks who were forcefully removed from their land and resettled into so-called "homelands" to try and reclaim their land. [includes rush transcript]
    Jun 27, 2013 | Web Exclusive
  • Dennis Brutus broke rocks next to Nelson Mandela when they were imprisoned together on notorious Robben Island. His crime, like Mandela’s, was fighting the injustice of racism, challenging South Africa’s apartheid regime. Brutus’ weapons were his words: soaring, searing, poetic.
    Dec 31, 2009 | Columns & Articles