Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela, right, meets with the Rev. Jesse Jackson when the two met during a reception for Mandela on Sunday, April 15, 1990 in a London hotel. Mandela was in London to attend a concert in his honor at Wembley Stadium where he will make an address to a world wide television audience. The last visit to Britain by Mandela was in 1962. (AP Photo/Gill Allen)
From his earliest days as a scion of South African royalty to his activism against racism and apartheid in South Africa, Mandela and his heroism has literally created history for more than 75 years. But even international icons such as Mandela have little-known facts in their backgrounds.
Here are 20 facts you may not know about Madiba.
1) Nelson Mandela was born into the royal Thembu family. [Source:About.com]
2) His first treason trial lasted five years from 1956 to 1961. Mandela was found not guilty. [Source:About.com]
12) When Stevie Wonder dedicated to Mandela his 1985 Oscar Award for the song “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” Wonder’s music was banned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. [Source:Los Angeles Times]
13) In 1998, Mandela married his third wife, Graca Machel, at the age of 80. She was the widow of former Mozambican president and ally on South Africa’s freedom struggle, Samora Michel, who had died 12 years earlier. [Source:The Telegraph]
14) Mandela appeared in the 1992 film “Malcolm X.” [Source:imdb.com]
15) In the days following his release from prison in 1990, Mandela stayed at the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. [Source:NPR]
16) President Ronald Reagan considered Mandela a communist terrorist and worked against the African National Congress. [Source:Salon]
17) Mandela’s first son, Thembi, died in a car accident in 1969. [Source:Wikipedia.com]
18) Mandela’s eyesight was permanently damaged from sun glare while being forced to work in prison without sunglasses. [Source:Globalpost.com]
19) In 1953, Mandela and ANC associate, Oliver Tambo, founded the only Black African law firm in South Africa. [Source:Wikipedia.com]
20) Mandela was 9-years-old when his father died of a lung disease. [Source:Biography.com]
Below is a tribute to Mandela, from our colleagues at Radio One.