Nelson Mandela is an inspiration, a Nobel Peace Prize winning politician, a writer and an activist who helped bring South Africa from a bitter apartheid past into a strong democratic future. Before serving as South Africa's first democratically-elected President from 1994 to 1999, Madiba (the honorary title given to him by the elders of his tribe) served 27 years in prison for political activism, spending many of these years on Robben Island. It was the attitude that he emerged from prison with in 1990, famously supporting reconciliation and negotiation, that helped lead his country toward a multi-racial democracy in South Africa. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly announced that Mandela's birthday, July 18th, is to be known as 'Mandela Day' to mark his contribution to world freedom. Nelson 'Madiba' Mandela is an inspiration to the world because he has shown us that the path of love and forgiveness requires strength, determination and a very strong heart. For years he changed himself and when he was ready he truly changed the world forever.