The same year that he retired, he founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation, an organisation that works to this day to promote the principals of equality, freedom and peace.From 2004, he lived a quiet life with his wife Graca.
During the years that Nelson was under arrest, the government banned anti-apartheid groups such as the ANC.
But that didn’t stop Nelson and his fellow activists – in fact, they felt more had to be done to bring about change.
White people ran the country, and they generally led privileged lives with good jobs, nice homes and access to good schools and healthcare.
Most black people, however, worked in low-paid jobs, and lived in poor communities with poor facilities.
Their work towards making South Africa a more peaceful place won the pair the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Come the 1994 general election, all races in South Africa were allowed to vote.They had far fewer rights, too – they weren’t even allowed to vote in elections!Like many others, Nelson Mandela felt that everyone deserved to be treated the same, regardless of their skin colour.And even though they preferred using peaceful protests in their struggle for equality, in 1961 Nelson and other ANC leaders formed a secret military group called Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation.Nelson knew he would be in big trouble if the authorities found out about the secret army and their plans, and so he kept a very low profile. But in August 1962, he was arrested on his return from a trip to Algeria in Northern Africa, and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1963, the police raided a farm near the city of Johannesburg and found documents belonging to the secret army, as well as weapons. The following year, Nelson and seven other men were charged for plotting to overthrow the government and given life sentences. Nelson was first sent to a prison on Robben Island, seven miles off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa’s capital city.His father’s name was Henry, and his mother’s Nosekeni Fanny. His father, Henry, was chief of a tribe in south Africa called the Tembu, and his great grandfather was the tribe’s king!As a youngster, little Nelson was actually called Rolihlahla – it wasn’t until he was seven that a teacher at school gave him the name ‘Nelson’, and it stuck! Sadly, his father died when he was just nine years old.Over time, Nelson Mandela became a famous prisoner, and there were calls all around the world to ‘Free Nelson Mandela! For decades, countries around the world had put pressure on South Africa to end apartheid, but now the anti-apartheid movement had more support than ever. The president of South Africa, FR de Klerk, met with Nelson Mandela and in 1990 set him free!In 1991, Nelson became President of the ANC and worked with FR de Klerk to bring an end to apartheid in a harmonious way, and introduce equal rights for everyone.In 1999, Nelson Mandela retired as President and his successor was called Mbeki.But whilst he left politics behind, he continued to be an important figure around the world as a symbol of peace and equality.