Nelson Mandela’s refusal to abandon his principles led to five years and a day longer in prison.
Mandela, a political prisoner in South Africa since Aug. 5, 1962, rejected a deal on Feb. 10, 1985 that would have given him a release.
He instead waited and kept encouraging others to work against apartheid. Today marks the 26th year since his release from prison after more than 27 years of incarceration. Mandela emerged from prison, became a world leader and a voice that spoke in favor of togetherness and acceptance for all.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion,” Mandela said. “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Mandela and F.W. de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Price on Dec. 10, 1993, for their joint work in bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa. Mandela was then elected by Parliament as the first black President of a democratic South Africa on May 9, 1994.
He later founded the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (1995) and the Nelson Mandela Foundation (1999). Mandela passed away Dec. 5, 2013, at age 95.