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'It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.”

(South Africa, July 14, 2000)

Nelson Mandela is considered to be have been one of the most influential and inspiring figures of the 20th century. He led the fight against the apartheid system in South Africa which saw racial separation enforced by government legislation. He spent 27 years in prison fighting for his vision of a democratic South Africa. After he was finally released from prison he astonished everyone by his lack of bitterness and his determination to achieve reconcilation between white and black South Africans. Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 in recognition of his stuggle.

Kramer, A, 2003, Nelson Mandela, Franklin Watts, 2003, p.4