Photo Gallery Africa Mourns Its 'Greatest Son'

He was a legend in his own lifetime, a fierce opponent of apartheid and Africa's most important statesman: Nelson Mandela passed away on Dec. 5 at the age of 95.
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He was a legend in his own lifetime, a fierce opponent of apartheid and Africa's most important statesman: Nelson Mandela passed away on Dec. 5 at the age of 95. South African President Jacob Zuma said in a speech that the nation had "lost its greatest son."

Foto: Corbis
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Mandela (middle) founded the African National Congress Youth League together with Walter Sisulu (left) in 1944, because he found the politics of the ANC too moderate. On the right is Harrison Motlana, who later served as secretary of the new organization.

Foto: AP
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The war against apartheid: In this 1959 photo, Mandela speaks to a group of women demonstrating against South Africa's pass laws, an internal passport system designed to segregate the population.

Foto: Peter Magubane/ AP
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Mandela (right) was imprisoned for 27 years for his work in protest of apartheid. Here he arrives, together with co-defendants Robert Resha (left) and Patrick Malaoa, at his first treason trial in Pretoria in 1958. The trial lasted for four and a half years.

Foto: AP
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In 1958 Mandela married Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela, now known as Winnie Mandela, who was 18 years his junior. The couple went on to have two daughters together. Here, she is shown attending her husband's trial in Pretoria on Oct. 22, 1962. He was sentenced to five years in prison for his protest actions. Another trial in 1964 resulted in a charge of life imprisonment for Mandela and seven co-defendants.

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In 1962, there was already a strong movement demanding Mandela's release. Here, a group of women, including Winnie Mandela, protest on the steps of the Johannesburg City Hall. Nevertheless, the leader remained in prison until 1990.

Foto: Dennis Lee Royle/ AP
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Winnie Mandela also became a radical opponent of the apartheid regime. Here, she raises a clenched fist after appearing at a Johannesburg magistrate's court in 1986. She had been held by police in Soweto the previous day for defying an order banning her presence there.

Foto: Greg English/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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A benefit rock concert in London's Wembley Stadium in 1988 was broadcast to more than 60 countries around the world. The event was held on the occasion of Mandela's 70th birthday to support the leader's release.

Foto: AP
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The turn of the tide: South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk began dialog with the black opposition in February 1990, when he announced not only the release of Mandela but also the legalization of the African National Congress and other banned organizations. It was the end of apartheid.

Foto: Dana Le Roux-Argus/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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On Feb. 11, 1990 Nelson Mandela was finally set free.

Foto: ? Ulli Michel / Reuters/ REUTERS
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Some 20,000 South Africans gathered in Soweto to celebrate Mandela's release.

Foto: Raymond Preston/ ASSOCIATED PRESS
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De Klerk and Mandela appear in 1990 prior to talks between the ANC and the South African government. After several meetings between the two camps, the ANC officially suspended its armed struggle. The government in return freed around 3,000 political prisoners.

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Mandela and de Klerk were finally awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1993 for their work in ending apartheid and bringing peace to South Africa.

Foto: ? STR New / Reuters/ REUTERS
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But the negotiations between the ANC and the white government were upset by violence between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party, a Zulu organization. Here, assailants clash in Johannesburg on March 28, 1994.

Foto: AP
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After numerous negotiations, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi (right) finally agreed in 1994 to take part in South Africa's first free elections. From left: Mandela, de Klerk and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Foto: ? Reuters Photographer / Reuters/ REUTERS
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Mandela looks out the window of his former cell on Robben Island in 1994.

Foto: Corbis
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Mandela was held at the notorious Robben Island Prison near Cape Town until 1981.

Foto: Corbis
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On May 10, 1994 Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was sworn in as the first black president of South Africa.

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President Mandela dances at a celebration concert following his inauguration as president in Pretoria.

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President Nelson Mandela is greeted by South African lawmakers as he leaves the chamber after addressing Parliament for the last time on March 26, 1999.

Foto: ? Reuters Photographer / Reuters/ REUTERS
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Thabo Mbeki (right) succeeded Mandela as ANC president in December 1997 and as president of South African in June 1999.

Foto: ? Reuters Photographer / Reuters/ REUTERS
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Mandela also had a big part in South Africa's selection to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Here, Mandela celebrates the decision at a 2004 ceremony in Zurich.

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Mandela arrives at the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg with his third wife, Graca Machel.

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Rebel, freedom fighter, statesman: In the coming days, Nelson Mandela will be mourned not only by South Africans but by supporters worldwide.

Foto: Corbis
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