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Nelson Mandela waves from the stage with British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) and South African High Commissioner Cheryl Carolus at Trafalgar Square during the South African democracy concert, in this April 29, 2001, file photo. Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95. REUTERS/Files

Nelson Mandela, from apartheid fighter to president and unifier

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(Reuters) - Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy, as an icon of peace and reconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice around the world.

Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, Mandela emerged determined to use his prestige and charisma to bring down apartheid while avoiding a civil war.

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