Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918. His father was a Chief of a Xhosa tribe in the Transkei. Mandela completed his law degree in 1942, and two years later became a member of the African National Congress. He became involved in the politics of the party, leading to his trial for treason in 1956, and his eventual acquittal in 1961. Two years later, in 1963, he stood trial again. The apartheid state charged him with treason once more, claiming he and his co-accused were plotting to overthrow the government.
He spent 27 years incarcerated for his activist role against the apartheid government. While on Robben Island, the prisoners, including Mandela, used to play football. After his release, he actively embraced his oppressors in the name of reconciliation. It was this unification of two politically opposing camps that earned him and FW De Klerk a Noble Peace Prize in 1993.
Mandela has become a cultural icon, representing the triumph of the human spirit as he displayed resilience of character and unfaltering compassion at every turn.
No one will forget him holding the FIFA World Cup ™ trophy after South Africa had won the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He triumphantly exclaimed "I feel like a young man of 15."
He has recently retired from public life but remains an international moral compass.
In 1998, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter presented Mandela with the highest FIFA honour award, the Order of Merit.