The world today mourns Nelson Mandela, who died in his South African home at age 95 after leading a historic and world-changing life. His death has sparked global celebrations of his legacy, discussions of his impact and debate over his ideology and politics. It can seem like everyone has a strongly held opinion about him.
You may find yourself, though, among the people who are generally aware of the contours of Mandela’s life but may feel lost in the details of that life and what it meant for the world. It’s okay – we can’t all be Mandela scholars. Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions. First, a disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive or definitive account of this very important story, just some background, written so that anyone can understand it.