ED GORDON, host:
In South Africa today, Nelson Mandela celebrates his 87th birthday. Mandela dedicated much of his life to South Africa's struggle against apartheid. Mandela co-founded the country's first black law firm in 1952. He also joined the opposition African National Congress party and helped form that group's outlawed military wing. Mandela and others tirelessly fought the system and often were imprisoned. This was Mandela 51 years ago.
(Soundbite of 1954 recording)
Mr. NELSON MANDELA: I have churched the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an idea for which I hope to live for, but my Lord, if it need be, it is an idea for which I am prepared to die.
GORDON: Mandela spent most of his adult life in prison. By February of 1990, when the government finally released him, most of South Africa's segregation laws had been repealed. In 1994, after he won the Nobel Peace Prize, South Africans elected him president.
Although Mandela has officially retired from politics, he continues to speak out for AIDS awareness and against global poverty. We wish a hearty happy birthday to Nelson Mandela.
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