Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, was a Methodist Christian. He was raised and schooled in the religion but kept his religious beliefs private throughout his historic struggle and subsequent victory over the forces of apartheid in South Africa.
Mandela sought to portray himself as a champion of secular democracy throughout his career. The Methodist church of South Africa was seen by many critics of apartheid as one branch of Christianity that supported the status quo. Privately, Mandela was a staunch believer but kept his beliefs from being used as a political tool during the long struggle towards independence from the oppressive regime.