Nelson Mandela: His Life in Pictures

With his passing on Dec. 5, PEOPLE looks back at the amazing life of South Africa's legendary leader

MAN OF ACTION

Mandela's activism starts early; in 1940 he's expelled from the University of Fort Hare after organizing a strike to protest limitations placed on the student council. He heads to Johannesburg, where he earns a job at a legal firm, starts working on his law degree and meets and marries his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase, with whom he has four children.