Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela popularly known as "Madiba" in South Africa, was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo a small village located at the south eastern part of South Africa in a district called Umtata. Nelson Mandela will be 95 years old on July 18, 2013.
Nelson Mandela's middle name "ROLIHLAHLA" is a Xhosa name which literally means "pulling the branch of a tree" which can also mean "stirring up trouble" or a "trouble maker". His name Rolihlahla therefore fitted him perfectly especially during the years of apartheid when Nelson Mandela was considered a trouble maker and later on declared a wanted man for stirring up so many troubles in South Africa.
Today however, the name Rolihlahla has a totally different meaning.
The name Rolihlahla today stands for a man of peace and justice. Rolihlahla today stands for a courageous freedom fighter who uses wisdom and not guns in winning freedom battles. Nelson Mandela despite being a hero remains very humble and continues fighting and winning freedom battles even at this his age.
Nelson Mandela to most Africans today remains the greatest leader alive in Africa. Nelson Mandela remains one of the greatest leaders of all time in the world today. Instead of adding more petrol to the burning flame in seek of vengeance, this true son of Africa calmed the flame with cooling waters by forgiving his "enemies" and bringing peace to all of South Africa and around the world.After nearly 3 decades of pain and torture in different prisons across south Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was finally released from jail as a "free man" on Sunday, 11 February 1990.
Imprisoned for 27 years for his opposition to apartheid, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela came out of prison in 1990 expressing no bitterness at all towards his tormentors. Instead, Nelson Mandela preached and practiced peace and reconciliation. To some, Mandela had a near-omnipotent power at the negotiating table, carrying with him an indubitable moral authority and gentle but firm sense of fairness. On 10 May 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first black president of the new democratic South Africa. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with former South African president FW de Klerk. This peace prize award is just one of his uncounted number of peace prize awards.
Nelson Mandela's inauguration as President of the "new" South Africa in 1994 brought together the greatest number of heads of states from all corners of the world since the funeral of the late president John F. Kennedy of the United States in 1963. Unlike the other corrupt and heartless leaders across and surrounding the continent, power did not corrupt Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Nelson Mandela ruled with fairness, freedom and justice for all and handed over power peacefully to Thabo Mbeki in 1999. Somewhere In June 2004, the great Nelson Mandela officially retired from public life. His parting gift a R1-billion endowment to South Africa, to be raised by the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and two other charitable organizations bearing his name (the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Rhodes Foundation).
Although Nelson Mandela has officially retired from public life, Nelson Mandela remains more active publicly than ever. Nelson Mandela continues preaching his peace message in all corners of the world. Nelson Mandela remains very active in several awareness campaigns such as the famous 46664 (his prison number) HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and several other not-for-profit organizations all across the globe.
UPDATE: Nelson Mandela has joined his ancestors. Madiba passed away on December 5, 2013. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.