We look back on Nelson Mandela's extraordinary life in our photo gallery.
Tensions over apartheid began to grow. The ANC was banned in 1960 and the protests became violent. In 1964 Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and trying to violently overthrow the government.
Huge crowds greeted the news of Mandela's prison release from with massive celebrations.
Mandela was born Rolihlahla Dalibhunga in 1918. He was given the name Nelson by a teacher at school. He became a lawyer after studying law at university.
Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994 in the country's first democratic elections, after more than 300 years of white rule.
Mandela, seen here with US First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, will be remembered around the world for his message of peace and unity.
In 1990, Mandela was released from prison after 27 years behind bars.
The former South African president Nelson Mandela has died aged 95. He is considered to have been one of the world's greatest leaders. Mandela played a huge part in ending apartheid, a system that forced black and white people to live separate lives in South Africa.
Mandela stepped down as South African president in 1999.
In 1995 South Africa held its first major sports competition, the Rugby World Cup. Mandela gave his support to the victorious South African team, which was made up mostly of white men. That helped to unite the country.
While Mandela was in prison, photos of him were banned and it was even illegal to quote him in public. But people across the world campaigned for his release.
Mandela was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, along with then South African president FW de Klerk. They were jointly awarded for their work to bring about a democratic and racially equal South Africa.
Mandela joined the political party African National Congress (ANC) and co-founded the ANC Youth League. He led a campaign against the apartheid, which had been created by South Africa's white ruling government.
Mandela became one of the world's most popular leaders and travelled the world meeting monarchs, politicians and celebrities.