Few men are born great in times that test men’s courage and grit to no ends. Nelson Mandela was one such man. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, he dedicated his life to uplift the Black people of South Africa and achieve what is the right of every human being; to be treated equally with dignity and to be free! Known fondly as Madiba, Mandela served as the first Black president as well as the first President of South Africa after the abolition of Apartheid. When he died at the age of 93 in 2013, he was mourned by millions across the globe and it was indeed the end of an era! Today at the occasion of his birth centenary, here is a look at the remarkable life he had lead:

1. His father was a counsellor to the tribal chiefs in the small village of Mvezo in South Africa and he dies when Madiba was merely 9 years old. The boy would go on to be the first person in his family to be educated and influence millions.

2. For his resolve to see the end of apartheid in South Africa, Mandela paid the price of 27 years of his life which he spent in the prison. He was arrested on August 5, 1962 for inciting strikes and leaving the country without permission.

3. In 1952, he along with his friend Oliver Tambo set up the first Black- run law firm in South Africa and catered to the black populace who had broken apartheid era laws by providing them legal counsel. Mandela wrote in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, “I realized quickly what Mandela and Tambo meant to ordinary Africans. It was a place where they could come and find a sympathetic ear and a competent ally, a place where they would not be either turned away or cheated, a place where they might actually feel proud to be represented by men of their own skin colour.”

4. Mandela earned his Law degree while he was in jail from the University of South Africa.

5. Mandela evaded arrest by adapting to various disguises. He was particularly adept at the art of disguising and before being arrested in 1962, was in the disguise of a chauffeur. He was arrested along with fellow activist Cecil Williams.

6. A man who was imprisoned for 27 years, Nelson Mandela was offered freedom with conditions. In 1985 South African President P.W. Botha offered Mandela his freedom if he renounced armed struggle. He refused, saying, “What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.” Thus, he refused to walk a free man on question of principles.

7. For a country that was ravaged by racial discrimination for centuries, it was feared worldwide that end of apartheid would unleash a series of acts of retribution and revenge by the black populace and the country would descend to anarchy. However, Mandela ensured peace by establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate human-rights abuses under Apartheid.

8. Mandela knew that the biggest task in front of him as a President was to rid South Africa of the chasms diving its people and for that purpose he used the binding power of sports. In 1995, South Africa hosted the Rugby World Cup and it was Mandela who motivated the populace to support the white majority national rugby team, Springboks.

9. While it is common knowledge that Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize, he also won more than 250 awards including 50 honorary degrees from more than 50 universities worldwide. He created history in the sense that in 2001, he became the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen, and he was the last person to receive the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union.

10. Losing his 54-year-old son Makgatho Mandela had died of an illness related to AIDS, Mandela spent his life working towards eradicating the taboo surrounding AIDS.