South Africa's first multi-racial elections in which full enfranchisement was granted were held on 27 April 1994. The ANC won 62% of the votes in the election, and Mandela, as leader of the ANC, was inaugurated on 10 May 1994 as the country's first black President, with the National Party's de Klerk as his first deputy and Thabo Mbeki as the second in the Government of National Unity. As President from May 1994 until June 1999, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation. Mandela encouraged black South Africans to get behind the previously hated Springboks (the South African national rugby team) as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After the Springboks won an epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar's own number 6 on the back. This was widely seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.
After assuming the presidency, one of Mandela's trademarks was his use of Batik shirts, known as "Madiba shirts", even on formal occasions. In South Africa's first post-apartheid military operation, Mandela ordered troops into Lesotho in September 1998 to protect the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. This came after a disputed election prompted fierce opposition threatening the unstable government. Commentators and critics including AIDS activists such as Edwin Cameron have criticised Mandela for his government's ineffectiveness in stemming the AIDS crisis. After his retirement, Mandela admitted that he may have failed his country by not paying more attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Mandela has since spoken out on several occasions about the AIDS epidemic.
During the course of his presidency, a wide range of progressive social reforms were enacted by Mandela's government, aimed at reducing long entrenched social and economic inequalities in South Africa. Amongst the measures carried out by Mandela and his ministers included:
- The introduction of free health care (1994) for all children under the age of six together with pregnant and breastfeeding women making use of public sector health facilities (a provision extended to all those using primary level public sector health care services in 1996).
- The launching of the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which invested in essential social services such as housing and health care.
- Increases in welfare spending, with public spending on welfare and social grants increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99.
- The introduction of parity in grants for communities which were previously, including disability grants, child maintenance grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups.
- The extension of the application of the child maintenance grant to blacks in rural areas, who had been previously excluded from the system.
- A significant increase in public spending on education, with expenditure raised by 25% in 1996/97, 7% in 1997/98 and 4% in 1998/99.
- An expansion of reproductive health services.
- The Land Restitution Act of 1994, which enabled people who had lost their property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims.
- The Land Reform Act 3 of 1996, which safeguarded the rights of labour tenants who live and grow crops or graze livestock on farms. This legislation ensured that such tenants could not be evicted without a court order or if they were over the age of sixty-five.
- The introduction of child support grants (1998) to alleviate child poverty.
- The Skills Development Act (1998) which provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace.
- The Labour Relations Act (1995), which promoted workplace democracy, orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour disputes.
- The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997), which improved enforcement mechanisms while extending an improved “floor” of rights to all workers.
- The passage of the Employment Equity Act (1998) to put an end to unfair discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.
- The connection of 3 million people to telephone lines.
- The bringing of 1.5 million children into the education system.
- The upgrading or construction of 500 clinics.
- The connection of 2 million people to the electricity grid.
- The construction of 750,000 houses, housing nearly 3 million people in the process.
- The extension of water access to 3 million people.
- The introduction of compulsory schooling for African children between six and fourteen years.
- The provision of free meals for between 3.5 to 5 million school children.
- The passage of the 1996 Mine Health and Safety Act (amended in 1997) to improve health and safety safety conditions for miners.
- The launching of the National Drug Policy in 1996 to improve access to essential medicines.
- The Welfare Laws Amendment Act (1997), which amended the Social Assistance Act of 1992 to provide for equality of access, uniformity and effective regulation of social assistance throughout South Africa, amongst other changes.
- Amendments to the Aged Persons Act (1998), which provided for the establishment of management committees for homes for the elderly, to require reporting on the abuse of elderly persons, and to regulate the prevention of the abuse of elderly people.
- The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (1998), which provided that no individual may be evicted from their home without a Court order after all relevant circumstances have been taken into account.
- The establishment of a National Development Agency (1998), which was mandated to provide funds to civil society organizations to meet the developmental needs of poor communities, amongst other functions.
- The Extension of Security of Tenure Act of 1997, which aimed at providing security of tenure to vulnerable occupants of land outside of urban areas. The legislation contained provisions which sought to create and support long-term security for vulnerable occupants while also safeguarding them from unfair eviction.
- The Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act of 1996, which safeguarded labour tenants and provided them with the right to claim land.
- Amendments to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) in 1997 which ensured that the number of dependants of workers who tragically lost their lives as a result of work place accidents and diseases now had an extended right to compensation beyond the age of eighteen. In addition, workers were granted a full right to compensation “for any disease arising out of the course and scope of their employment as compensation will not be limited to diseases resulting from exposure to substances at the workplace or due to workplace practices.”
- Amendments to the Insolvency Act in 1998 which aimed to ensure that in bankruptcy cases preference would be given to workers “to ensure that monies owed to them takes precedence over the claims of other creditors.”
President Mandela took a particular interest in helping to resolve the long-running dispute between Gaddafi's Libya, on the one hand, and the United States and Britain on the other, over bringing to trial the two Libyans who were indicted in November 1991 and accused of sabotaging Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed at the Scottish town of Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, with the loss of 270 lives. As early as 1992, Mandela informally approached President George H.W. Bush with a proposal to have the two indicted Libyans tried in a third country. Bush reacted favourably to the proposal, as did President François Mitterrand of France and King Juan Carlos I of Spain. In November 1994 – six months after his election as president – Mandela formally proposed that South Africa should be the venue for the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial.
However, British Prime Minister John Major flatly rejected the idea saying the British government did not have confidence in foreign courts. A further three years elapsed until Mandela's offer was repeated to Major's successor, Tony Blair, when the president visited London in July 1997. Later the same year, at the 1997 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Edinburgh in October 1997, Mandela warned:
A compromise solution was then agreed for a trial to be held at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, governed by Scots law, and President Mandela began negotiations with ColonelGaddafi for the handover of the two accused (Megrahi and Fhimah) in April 1999. At the end of their nine-month trial, the verdict was announced on 31 January 2001. Fhimah was found not guilty, but Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in a Scottish jail. Megrahi's initial appeal was turned down in March 2002, and former president Mandela went to visit him in Barlinnie prison on 10 June 2002.
'Megrahi is all alone', Mandela told a packed press conference in the prison's visitors room. 'He has nobody he can talk to. It is psychological persecution that a man must stay for the length of his long sentence all alone. It would be fair if he were transferred to a Muslim country – and there are Muslim countries which are trusted by the West. It will make it easier for his family to visit him if he is in a place like the kingdom of Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt.'
Megrahi was subsequently moved to Greenock jail and out of solitary confinement. In August 2009 Megrahi, suffering from cancer and expected to have only 3 months left to live, was released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya. The Nelson Mandela Foundation expressed its support for the decision to release Megrahi in a letter sent to the Scottish Government on behalf of Mandela.
Marriage and family
Mandela has been married three times, has fathered six children, has twenty grandchildren, and a growing number of great-grandchildren. He is grandfather to Chief Mandla Mandela.
Mandela's first marriage was to Evelyn Ntoko Mase who, like Mandela, was also from what later became the Transkei area of South Africa, although they actually met in Johannesburg. The couple broke up in 1957 after 13 years, divorcing under the multiple strains of his constant absences, devotion to revolutionary agitation, and the fact she was a Jehovah's Witness, a religion which requires political neutrality. Evelyn Mase died in 2004. The couple had two sons, Madiba Thembekile (Thembi) (1946–1969) andMakgatho Mandela (1950–2005), and two daughters, both named Makaziwe Mandela (known as Maki; born 1947 and 1953). Their first daughter died aged nine months, and they named their second daughter in her honour. All their children were educated at the United World College of Waterford Kamhlaba. Thembi was killed in a car crash in 1969 at the age of 23, while Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, and Mandela was not allowed to attend the funeral. Makgatho died of AIDS in 2005, aged 54.
Mandela's second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also came from the Transkei area, although they, too, met in Johannesburg, where she was the city's first black social worker. They had two daughters, Zenani (Zeni), born 4 February 1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela-Hlongwane, born 1960. Zindzi was only 18 months old when her father was sent to Robben island. Later, Winnie would be deeply torn by family discord which mirrored the country's political strife; while her husband was serving a life sentence on the Robben Island prison, her father became the agriculture minister in the Transkei. The marriage ended in separation (April 1992) and divorce (March 1996), fuelled by political estrangement.
Mandela was still in prison when his daughter Zenani was married to Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini in 1973, elder brother of King Mswati III of Swaziland. Although she had vivid memories of her father, from the age of four up until sixteen, South African authorities did not permit her to visit him. The Dlamini couple live and run a business in Boston.One of their sons, Prince Cedza Dlamini (born 1976), educated in the United States, has followed in his grandfather's footsteps as an international advocate for human rights and humanitarian aid. In July 2012, Zenani was appointed ambassador to Argentina, becoming the first of Mandela's three remaining children to enter public life. Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane made history worldwide when she read out Mandela's speech refusing his conditional pardon in 1985. She is a businesswoman in South Africa with three children, the eldest of whom is a son, Zondwa Gadaffi Mandela.
Mandela was remarried, on his 80th birthday in 1998, to Graça Machel née Simbine, widow of Samora Machel, the former Mozambican president and ANC ally who was killed in an air crash 12 years earlier. The wedding followed months of international negotiations to set the unprecedented bride price to be remitted to Machel's clan. Said negotiations were conducted on Mandela's behalf by his traditional sovereign, King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo. The paramount chief's grandfather was the regent Jongintaba Dalindyebo, who had arranged a marriage for Mandela, which he eluded by fleeing to Johannesburg in 1940.
Mandela still maintains a home at Qunu in the realm of his royal nephew (second cousin thrice-removed in Western reckoning), whose university expenses he defrayed and whose privy councillor he remains.
Mandela became the oldest elected President of South Africa when he took office at the age of 75 in 1994. He decided not to stand for a second term and retired in 1999, to be succeeded by Thabo Mbeki.
After his retirement as President, Mandela went on to become an advocate for a variety of social and human rights organisations. He has expressed his support for the internationalMake Poverty History movement of which the ONE Campaign is a part. The Nelson Mandela Invitational charity golf tournament, hosted by Gary Player, has raised over twenty million rand for children's charities since its inception in 2000. This annual special event has become South Africa's most successful charitable sports gathering and benefits both the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Gary Player Foundation equally for various children's causes around the world.
Mandela is a vocal supporter of SOS Children's Villages, the world's largest organisation dedicated to raising orphaned and abandoned children. Mandela appeared in a televised advertisement for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and was quoted for the International Olympic Committee's Celebrate Humanity campaign:
For seventeen days, they are roommates. For seventeen days, they are soulmates. And for twenty-two seconds, they are competitors. Seventeen days as equals. Twenty-two seconds as adversaries. What a wonderful world that would be. That's the hope I see in the Olympic Games.
Three organisations associated with Mandela have been established: the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
In July 2001 Mandela was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. He was treated with a seven-week course of radiation. In 2003 Mandela's death was incorrectly announcedby CNN when his pre-written obituary (along with those of several other famous figures) was inadvertently published on CNN's web site due to a fault in password protection. In 2007 a fringe right-wing group distributed hoax email and SMS messages claiming that the authorities had covered up Mandela's death and that white South Africans would be massacred after his funeral. Mandela was on holiday in Mozambique at the time.
In June 2004, at age 85, Mandela announced that he would be retiring from public life. His health had been declining, and he wanted to enjoy more time with his family. Mandela said that he did not intend to hide away totally from the public, but wanted to be in a position "of calling you to ask whether I would be welcome, rather than being called upon to do things and participate in events. My appeal therefore is: Don't call me, I will call you." Since 2003, he has appeared in public less often and has been less vocal on topical issues. He is white-haired and walks slowly with the support of a stick. There are reports that he may be suffering from age-related dementia.
Mandela's 90th birthday was marked across the country on 18 July 2008, with the main celebrations held at his home town of Qunu. A concert in his honour was also held inHyde Park, London. In a speech to mark his birthday, Mandela called for the rich people to help poor people across the world. Despite maintaining a low-profile during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Mandela made a rare public appearance during the closing ceremony, where he received a "rapturous reception."
In January 2011, he was admitted to the private Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, for what were at the time described as "routine tests" by his foundation, leading to intense media speculation about the health condition of the increasingly frail Mandela. It later emerged that he had been suffering from a respiratory infection, which had responded well to treatment. He was discharged after two and a half days in hospital in a stable condition, and returned to his Houghton, Johannesburg home in an ambulance.
On 18 July 2007, Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu convened a group of world leaders in Johannesburg to contribute their wisdom and independent leadership to address the world's toughest problems. Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday.
Archbishop Tutu serves as the chair of The Elders. The founding members of this group also include Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus.
"This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken", Mandela commented. "Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair."
Since his retirement, one of Mandela's primary commitments has been to the fight against AIDS. He gave the closing address at the XIII International AIDS Conference in 2000, in Durban, South Africa. In 2003, he had already lent his support to the 46664 AIDS fundraising campaign, named after his prison number. In July 2004, he flew to Bangkok to speak at the XV International AIDS Conference. His son, Makgatho Mandela, died of AIDS on 6 January 2005. Mandela's AIDS activism is chronicled in Stephanie Nolen's book, 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa.
Criticism of US and UK foreign policy
Nelson Mandela had strongly opposed the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo and called it an attempt by the world's powerful nations to police the entire world. In 2002 and 2003, Mandela criticised the foreign policy of the administration of US president George W. Bush in a number of speeches. Criticising the lack of UN involvement in the decision to begin the War in Iraq, he said, "It is a tragedy, what is happening, what Bush is doing. But Bush is now undermining the United Nations." Mandela stated he would support action against Iraq only if it is ordered by the UN. Mandela also insinuated that the United States may have been motivated by racism in not following the UN and its secretary-general Kofi Annan on the issue of the war. "Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals [sic] were white". General Colin Powell, the first of two African-Americans appointed by Bush to the position of US Secretary of State, presented to the United Nations Assembly the case for the war in Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Mandela urged the people of the US to join massive protests against Bush and called on world leaders, especially those with vetoes in the UN Security Council, to oppose him."What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." He attacked the United States for its record on human rights and for dropping atomic bombs on Japan during World War II. "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care." Nelson Mandela also harshly condemned British Prime Minister Tony Blair and referred to him as the "foreign minister of the United States".
Mandela, and Kofi Annan, also strongly criticised George W Bush’s PEPFAR initiative at an international AIDS conference in 2004.
Ismail Ayob controversy
Ismail Ayob was a trusted friend and personal attorney of Mandela for over 30 years. In May 2005, Ayob was asked by Mandela to stop selling prints signed by Mandela and to account for the proceeds of their sale. This bitter dispute led to an extensive application to the High Court of South Africa by Mandela that year. Ayob denied any wrongdoing, and claimed that he was the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by Mandela's advisors, in particular, lawyer George Bizos.
In 2005 and 2006, Ayob, his wife, and son were subjected to a verbal attack by Mandela's advisors. The dispute was widely reported in the media, with Ayob being portrayed in a negative light, culminating in the action by Mandela to the High Court. There were public meetings at which Mandela associates attacked Ayob and there were calls for Ayob and his family to be ostracised by society. The defence of Ismail and Zamila Ayob (his wife, and a fellow respondent) included documents signed by Mandela and witnessed by his secretaries, that, they claimed, refuted many of the allegations made by Nelson Mandela and his advisors.
The dispute again made headlines in February 2007 when, during a hearing in the Johannesburg High Court, Ayob promised to pay R700 000 to Mandela, which Ayob had transferred into trusts for Mandela's children, and apologised,  although he later claimed that he was the victim of a "vendetta", by Mandela. Some media commentators expressed sympathy for Ayob's position, pointing out that Mandela's iconic status would make it difficult for Ayob to be treated fairly.
Ayob, George Bizos and Wim Trengove were trustees of the Nelson Mandela Trust, which was set up to hold millions of rands donated to Nelson Mandela by prominent business figures, including the Oppenheimer family, for the benefit of his children and grandchildren. Ayob later resigned from the Trust. In 2006, the two remaining trustees of the Nelson Mandela Trust launched an application against Ayob for disbursing money from the trust without their consent. Ayob claimed that this money was paid to the South African Revenue Service, to Mandela's children and grandchildren, to Mandela himself, and to an accounting company for four years of accounting work.
Bizos and Trengrove refused to ratify the payments to the children and grandchildren of Nelson Mandela and the payments to the accounting firm. A court settlement was reached in which this money, totalling over R700,000 was paid by Ismail Ayob to the trust on the grounds that Ayob had not sought the express consent of the other two trustees before disbursing the money. It was alleged that Ayob made defamatory remarks about Mandela in his affidavit, for which the court order stated that Ayob should apologise. It was pointed out that these remarks, which centred on Nelson Mandela holding foreign bank accounts and not paying tax on these, had not originated from Ayob's affidavit but from Nelson Mandela's and George Bizos's own affidavits.
Blood Diamond controversy
In a The New Republic article in December 2006, Nelson Mandela was criticised for a number of positive comments he had made about the diamond industry. There were concerns that this would benefit suppliers of blood diamonds. In a letter to Edward Zwick, the director of the motion picture Blood Diamond, Mandela had noted that:
...it would be deeply regrettable if the making of the film inadvertently obscured the truth, and, as a result, led the world to believe that an appropriate response might be to cease buying mined diamonds from Africa. ... We hope that the desire to tell a gripping and important real life historical story will not result in the destabilisation of African diamond producing countries, and ultimately their peoples.
The New Republic article claims that this comment, as well as various pro-diamond-industry initiatives and statements during his life and during his time as a president of South Africa, were influenced by both his friendship with Harry Oppenheimer, former chairman of De Beers, as well as an outlook for 'narrow national interests' of South Africa (which is a major diamond producer).
Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe who has led the country since independence in 1980, has been widely criticised internationally for the 1980s fighting which killed tens of thousands of people as well as corruption, incompetent administration, political oppression and cronyism that has ultimately led to the economic collapse of the country.
Mandela and Mugabe were seldom seen as close. Mandela criticised Mugabe in 2000, referring to African leaders who had liberated their countries but had then overstayed their welcome. In his retirement, Mandela spoke out less often on Zimbabwe and other international and domestic issues, sometimes leading to criticism for not using his influence to greater effect to persuade Mugabe to moderate his policies. His lawyer George Bizos revealed that Mandela has been advised on medical grounds to avoid engaging in stressful activity such as political controversy. Nonetheless, in 2007, Mandela attempted to persuade Mugabe to leave office "sooner than later", with "a modicum of dignity", before he was hounded out like Augusto Pinochet. Mugabe did not respond to this approach. In June 2008, at the height of the crisis over the Zimbabwean presidential election, Mandela condemned the "tragic failure of leadership" in Zimbabwe.
Eve Fairbanks of Newsweek said "Mandela rightly occupies an untouched place in the South African imagination. He's the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one".
In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela's birthday, 18 July, is to be known as "Mandela Day" to mark his contribution to world freedom.
Orders and decorations
Mandela has received many South African, foreign and international honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 (which was shared withFrederik Willem de Klerk), the Order of Merit from, and creation as, a Baliff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John by Queen Elizabeth IIand the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. In July 2004, the city of Johannesburg bestowed its highest honour on Mandela by granting him the freedom of the city at a ceremony in Orlando, Soweto.
As an example of his popular foreign acclaim, during his tour of Canada in 1998, 45,000 school children greeted him with adulation at a speaking engagement in the SkyDome in the city of Toronto. In 2001, he was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen (the only previous recipient, Raoul Wallenberg, was awarded honorary citizenship posthumously). While in Canada, he was also made an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the few foreigners to receive the honour.
In 1990 he received the Bharat Ratna Award from the government of India and also received the last ever Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union. In 1992 he was awarded the Atatürk Peace Award by Turkey. He refused the award citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at the time, but later accepted the award in 1999. In 1992 he received of Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civil service award of Pakistan.