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Image of Nelson Mandela

Yousuf Karsh
Canadian, born Armenia, 1908–2002

Nelson Mandela


Object Type: Photograph
20 in. x 16 in. (50.8 cm x 40.64 cm)
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print on paper
Accession Number: 2013.0005.0047

Credit Line: Gift of Estrellita Karsh, in honor of Mark M. Johnson, and in memory of Yousuf Karsh
Copyright: © Estate of Yousuf Karsh

Nelson Mandela (1918–2013) Mandela, the son of an African tribal chief, devoted his life to fighting racial oppression. An attorney, he advocated resistance to South Africa’s legally sanctioned system of racial segregation known as apartheid. In 1964 he was arrested for sabotage and treason and imprisoned for 27 years, becoming the leading symbol of South African repression. Karsh photographed Mandela in Ottawa just four months after he was released from confinement. Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with Frederik Willem de Klerk, then South Africa’s president. Later that year Mandela defeated de Klerk in South Africa’s first free and democratic elections.

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