Nelson Mandela is regarded today as one of the most well-known, courageous and admired figure in the world. He dedicated himself to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, an era which came to end with the country’s first multiracial elections on April 1994. Nelson Mandela is important in our culture because he represents the symbol of peace, sacrifice, determination, struggle for justice and courage. During the 1950s, Mr. Mandela fought hard for the freedom of his people, organizing resistance to the Western Areas removals and campaigns of civil disobedience, as well as opening South Africa’s first black law-firm. Because of his fight against racism and discrimination, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to prison in 1963. At the end of the trial he mentioned, “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” This speech became an important motivation for the anti-apartheid movements. He suffered from a brutal regime of hard labor during his life in prison. Incarceration failed to erode Mr. Mandela’s influence within South Africa, and his imprisonment became a symbol of the combat against apartheid. During his time in prison, Mr. Mandela turned down numerous offers from the government which wanted him to go to exile in exchange of his release. In 1990, after spending 27 years of prison, he was finally released. Two years later, Mr. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On 27 April 1994, South Africa witnessed the official end of apartheid when the ANC won a 62.65% majority in the national elections. Mandela was inaugurated on 10 May 1994 as the first black president of South Africa. President Mandela oversaw the transition from minority rule, gaining international respect for his pursuit of national reconciliation. In 1999, after one term, President Mandela announced his retirement from politics, which is unique for an African president. During his Life after office, Mr. Mandela has worked tirelessly since his retirement to promote equality, democracy and development around the world. He has established three foundations to pursue these goals: The Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela-Rhodes Foundation. “Nelson Mandela is a model for me and many people around the world. If only they were more people like Nelson Mandela on this planet, the world would be a better place.