Nelson Mandela (born 1918)
From the Tembu ruling family in Transkei, South Africa, Mandela was expelled from college for organizing Black students against apartheid, but nonetheless went on to study law.
He founded the Youth League section of the African National Congress Party (ANC), adopting militant strategies of strikes, boycotts and civil disobedience, causing at various times for him to be exiled, forced into hiding and imprisoned. He used his time in court to make political speeches, saying,
I was made, by law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for.
In 1964, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, yet his influence continued to grow.
In 1990, aged 71 he was released and became the first democratically elected South African President in 1994.
His recent retirement from political life marks the end of an era in Black politics.