Nelson Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, on July 18, 1918. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party's apartheid policies after 1948. From 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison and then later moved to Pollsmoor Prison, during which time his reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to the anti-apartheid movement grew steadily. Released from prison in 1990, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He is the author of the international bestseller Long Walk to Freedom. He died on December 5, 2013, at age ninety-five.
Mandla Langa was born in 1950 in Durban, South Africa. After being arrested in 1976, he went into exile and has lived in Botswana, Mozambique, and Angola, as well as Hungary, Zambia, and the United Kingdom, where he was the ANC's Cultural Representative. A writer and journalist, he was the first South African to be awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for creative writing and has been a columnist for the Sunday Independent and the New Nation. He is also the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Prize for Best Book in the African Region.
Graï¿½a Machel was born in Mozambique in 1945. A teacher, human rights activist, international advocate for women's and children's rights, and politician, she was married--from 1975 until his death in 1986--to Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique. In July 1988 she married Nelson Mandela. Among numerous awards she has received the United Nations' Nansen Medal in recognition of her long-standing humanitarian work, particularly on behalf of refugee children.