5 Ways Nelson Mandela Changed The World

Photo: (Getty)

Photo: (Getty)

Each year in July people come together to make change for Nelson Mandela Day, but Mandela’s powerful life affects people every day, especially in his home of South Africa. Now that Mandela has passed at the age of 95, a world mourns.

In honor of this great man, MTV Act has also put together a list of five amazing feats he accomplished in his lifetime.

+ President of South Africa


In 1994, Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected President. This was a triumph for democracy, and also a triumph for equality. Though the majority of the citizens of South Africa are black, Mandela had grown up in a country full of racial tension, and one in which black people were denied basic rights.

+ Working Against Apartheid


From the 1940s to the 1990s, South Africa lived under the apartheid regime, which meant that people were racially segregated. Black people were not allowed to vote and were denied many of the rights given to white people. Mandela was a strong anti-apartheid activist. The apartheid government did not tolerate opposition, and his activism caused him to be imprisoned for 27 years.

+ Nobel Peace Prize


Because of his nonviolent work to end the apartheid regime, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Receiving the prize, he said, “This must be a world of democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance, relieved of the threat and the scourge of civil wars and external aggression and unburdened of the great tragedy of millions forced to become refugees.”

+ Creating Impactful Orgs


In 1995, then-President Mandela opened the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to help protect and empower children. Then, after retiring as president in 1999, he founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation to continue its work to better the world. It also got behind Mandela Day!

+ Being an HIV/AIDS Activist


Makgatho Mandela, Mandela’s son, lost his life to AIDS. Although the former president had already been working to fight HIV/AIDS, this made the fight all the more personal. One of the first steps in fighting HIV/AIDS is taking away the stigma so people are more willing to be educated about it and understand it. “Let us give publicity to HIV/AIDS and not hide it, because [that is] the only way to make it appear like a normal illness,” he said.

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