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Chris Saunders

the last state president of apartheid South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born in Johannesburg on 18 March 1936, the son of a leading National Party (NP) politician. Widely known, from his initials, as F. W., the younger de Klerk practiced law before entering politics. After being elected as a member of Parliament for the Vereeniging constituency in 1972, he rose rapidly through the ranks of the NP until he became leader of the party in early 1989 and state president in September that year. He held that position until May 1994, when Nelson Mandela succeeded him. He then became one of two deputy-presidents under Mandela until mid-1996, when he left the government of national unity and became leader of the opposition in Parliament. He retired as leader of the NP and from politics in September 1997.

De Klerk was a key figure in ...


F. W. De Klerk was born to an Afrikaner family with a long history of involvement in South African politics. His own political career began during adolescence, when he joined the youth section of the Afrikaner-dominated National Party.

In 1958 De Klerk received a law degree from Potchef- stroom University. He practiced law in Veereniging from 1961 until 1972, all the while serving as chairman of the local chapter of the National Party. He then abandoned his law career and became a member of Parliament in South Africa. De Klerk rose quickly through the party’s rank and file, with appointments to numerous cabinet posts. As a minister he had little patience for antiapartheid protests but was known as a conciliator within the party.

After South African president Pieter Willem Botha had a heart attack in 1989 De Klerk became the leader of the National Party Later that ...


Richard Watts

Jean-Claude Duvalier was born while his father, the tyrannical François Duvalier, (“Papa Doc”), was in political exile in the countryside of Haiti, and so spent the first years of his life in hiding. When Papa Doc assumed the presidency in 1957, he began grooming Jean-Claude, merely six years old, as his successor. On January 22, 1971, François Duvalier announced that, upon his own death, his nineteen-year-old son would assume the role of president for life. After his father's death later that year, Jean-Claude essentially became a figurehead for the regime while his mother, Simone Ovide Duvalier, ran the country.

Over time however young Duvalier assumed more power He appointed members of Haiti s mulatto elite whom he had met in school to important posts in his government and invited some of the departed elite to return promising that no risk of persecution existed Duvalier s ...


Peter Limb

Nelson Rolihlahla Madiba Mandela was born in 1918 in the rural Transkei of South Africa. Here he absorbed Xhosa and African culture, notably the ideas of honor and ubuntu humanness or a feeling of fellowship and compassion From his parents and clan the young Mandela also heard stories of the historical resistance of Africans to white invasion From an early age he was groomed for a leadership role given that his father was descended from a minor house of royalty of the Thembu people a branch of the Xhosa nation The Thembu Paramount Chief Regent Jongintaba looked after Mandela following the early death of his father who had been the Paramount s chief councilor but who after resisting white domination had been deposed as headman by the government Mandela s given name was Rolihlahla troublemaker and his clan name Madiba reconciler would remain a praise name and term of ...


The first black president of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela became a worldwide symbol of resistance to the injustice of his country’s Apartheid system. Imprisoned for more than twenty-seven years, and before that banned from all public activity and hounded by police for nearly a decade, Mandela led a struggle for freedom that mirrored that of his black compatriots. After his 1990 release from Victor Verster prison, his work to end apartheid won him the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize (which he shared with South African president F. W. de Klerk) and then the presidency itself a year later.

Mandela’s father, Chief Henry Mandela, was a member of the Thembu people’s royal lineage; his mother was one of the chief’s four wives. Mandela was born in Mvezo, Umtata, but grew up in Qunu, a small village in what is now the Eastern Cape Province At the age of ...


former president of South Africa (1994–1999), African National Congress (ANC) leader, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born on 18 July 1918 in the rural village of Mvezo near Mthatha in rural Transkei The youngest of four sons he imbibed ideas of honor and humaneness and stories of resistance to white invasion from his Xhosa culture clan and family Descended from a minor or Left Hand royal house of the Thembu people his father Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa served as councilor to the Thembu paramount chief but after protesting aspects of white domination was deposed as village headman by the government After his father s early death Mandela was groomed for a local leadership role by the paramount regent Jongintaba Mandela s given name was Rolihlahla troublemaker and his clan name Madiba reconciler would remain a praise name and term of affection in years to come symbolizing his ...


Robert Fay

The son of a hospital clerk, Anwar Sadat was born in Mit Abu al-Kawm, a village on the Nile delta. He was part of the first generation of Egyptian soldiers recruited from the middle class rather than the elite, and graduated from Cairo Military Academy in 1938. During World War II (1939–1945), Sadat was twice arrested for conspiring with the Germans’ campaign to drive the British from Egypt. In 1950 he joined the Free Officers Committee Organization, chaired by Gamal Abdel Nasser. In 1952 he participated in Nasser’s overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy.

After Nasser was elected president of Egypt in 1956, Sadat held various offices in the government, including two terms as vice president (1964–1966 and 1969–1970). After Nasser’s death in September 1970 Sadat became president Although his political opponents considered him an interim leader he was elected president less than a ...


James Jankowski

Egyptian army officer, nationalist, and president, was born in the village of Mit Abu al-Kum, Minufiyya Province, on 25 December 1918. An educated effendi, his father was an army clerk who served in the Sudan where he met Sadat’s mother. Sadat’s early years were spent in Mit Abu al-Kum under his grandmother’s care; the reunited nuclear family moved to Cairo in 1925 upon his father’s return from the Sudan. Sadat’s educational experience was diverse: early schooling in the village kuttab and briefly in a Coptic school in a neighboring village before moving to Cairo and attendance at a number of primary and secondary schools in Cairo before receiving his General Certificate of Education in 1936. He was admitted to the Royal Military Academy in 1936 as part of the first class admitted on a competitive basis. He graduated in 1938 and was commissioned into the Egyptian ...