Synopsis by John Patrick Sheehan
This edition of Biography, the long running documentary series from A&E, explores the life of South African statesman, president Nelson Mandela. In 1960, he organized a paramilitary group to engage in guerrilla warfare against the apartheid government. Although acquitted of treason in 1961, he was subsequently convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life in prison in 1964. Continuing to be a potent symbol in the fight against apartheid, Mandela motivated an international campaign for his release during the 1980s. He was eventually released from prison in 1990, after President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the ANC, removed restrictions on political groups, and suspended executions. In 1991, Mandela was elected president of the African National Congress. He then led the ANC in its pivotal negotiations with President de Klerk for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multi-racial government. Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1993. Mandela was elected president in South Africa's first multi-racial, democratic elections held in 1994.