Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Former President of South Africa
A peace-loving South African Prince, a courageous fighter of human rights.View Citation
Play VideoTribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born 18 July 1918, was the first President of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative democratic election, and served in office from 1994 to 1999.
Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of the African National Congress's armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. The South African courts convicted him on charges of sabotage, as well as other crimes committed while he led the movement against apartheid. In accordance with his conviction, Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island.
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela has supported reconciliation and negotiation, and has helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, many have frequently praised Mandela, including former opponents. Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan and this title has come to be synonymous with him.
Tan Sri participated in designing and promoting Nelson Mandela’s highly successful electoral campaign for the African National Congress (ANC), 'A Better Life for All' during the republic's first free elections in 1994.
In a letter to Tan Sri sent in April 1994, former President Nelson Mandela writes, “It is with great pleasure and deep gratitude that I write to thank you and your team for the tremendous contribution you have given to our election campaign.
“Your untiring efforts on our behalf have touched the hearts of us all and you have shown true friendship and solidarity with the people of South Africa in our endeavour to transform South Africa into a free, just and democratic country. The size and magnitude of your contribution will have a very meaningful impact on the outcome of the election and, on behalf of the people of South Africa, I thank you.”
The moving ceremony celebrated the finest moments of Dr. Mandela’s historic journey to build a better world, honouring his legendary leadership that has set the example for other leaders to emulate in serving people through the philosophy of reconciliation and peaceful intervention. It was the first honorary doctorate accepted by Dr. Mandela from an Asian institution, and the University is proud to be part of such a historic event. The ceremony took place mere days apart from the former president’s 90th birthday.