Image for Nelson Mandela: The Fight for FreedomNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 59 minutes

Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2013) was a freedom fighter, loved and respected around the world.

In his struggle against apartheid, Mandela felt violence was justified. He was considered by the South African government, and many others, to be a terrorist. He was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.

During his 27 years in jail, world leaders, pop stars and the public called for his freedom and an end to apartheid. Finally in 1990, at the age of 72, he was freed.

Forgiving his oppressors, Mandela negotiated with the South African government, and in 1994 the country held its first free election. Twenty-three million people voted and Mandela won by an overwhelming majority, becoming the first black president of a new South Africa.

In his retirement he worked ceaselessly to combat poverty, injustice and HIV.

David Dimbleby presents a look back at Nelson Mandela's life - including interviews Dimbleby conducted with Mandela in 2003. World leaders and well-known artists commenting on Mandela's life include Bill Clinton, Archbishop Tutu, Bob Geldof, Annie Lennox and Lenny Henry.

Last on

Fri 6 Dec 2013 21:00 BBC One

  • "You can't paint charisma"

    Mandela portrait

    BBC Radio 5 live presents tributes to Nelson Mandela, from the only painter Mandela ever sat for, Harold Riley, as well as Jesse Jackson, Peter Hain, and golfer Gary Player.


    Browse BBC Radio 5 live's Nelson Mandela clips


    Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a group of former Robben Island political prisoners feature in a selection of programmes about Mandela - in his own words and by those that knew him.


    Browse BBC Radio 4's Remembering Mandela collection


David Dimbleby
Janette Ballard
David Harrison
Jeremy Monblat
Executive Producer
Tom Giles
Executive Producer
Paul Woolwich


BBC News: Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Full analysis: Tributes, compelling quotes, a life in pictures and a guide to apartheid.

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