Mandela was born in July 18, 1918 in a small South African village called Mvezo. His father was a chief of a tribe. At 7 Nelson Mandela was the first son of the family to go to school. His name Nelson came from one of his teachers. At 9 his father passed away and he got thrusted with a half king to finalize his education. According to his tribe rites he got initiated at the age of 16. He went on with success with his studies and obtained his certificate in 2 years instead of the usual 3. In 1934 after graduating from the college of Weyslan he joined the Fort Hare University where he connected with Oliver Tambo who was to become a colleague of his and a great friend.
It was in 1942 that Nelson Mandela joined the ANC, The African National Congress, after successful law studies at the Witwaterstand University. he joined this political party which is a member of the International Socialist movement just to be able to fight the domination of the white minority over the black masses. In 1952, Mandela, then a lawyer, started challenging the white minority racist policy called apartheid based on segregation and the domination of black people by the white settlers. Then followed years of political upheaval against the white supremacy organized by Mandela and his friends like Walter Sizulu and Oliver Tambo. It was during these troubled years that the freedom Charter of the black masses was written.
In December 5th, 1956 Mandela and 150 other members of ANC got arrested and accused of sedition and treason against the state. They eventually got released. Many more years of prison were to follow as Mandela and the ANC members made their fight more radical. In 1962 Mandela got arrested and imprisoned anew. When he contested the justice of Apartheid he got a lifetime sentence in 1964 and was imprisoned in Robben Island because of his clandestine political activities. This is when he became the most popular political prisoner.
In 1990 Mandela was liberated at last after many years of detention during which he never denied his faith in becoming victorious at the end. After his liberation by President Frederik Deklerc, he started working with him to end the hideous regime of Apartheid.
One of the qualities that Mandela has in common with President Lincoln is certainly his ability to control emotion. There are many stories related to all kinds of ill-treatments and frustration he got exposed to by the guards in his prison. Yet he never lost control as he was going to prove it when he became the first black president of South Africa.
Every Thursday at one point during Nelson Mandela's long incarceration on Robben Island he and a group of other black prisoners would be taken outside and told to dig a trench six feet deep. When it was complete, they were told to get down into it, whereupon their white warders would urinate on them. Then they were told to fill in the trench and go back to their solitary cells. Years later, when Nelson Mandela was about to be inaugurated as the first president of South Africa elected by all its people, he was asked who he would like to invite to his first dinner as president. The warders from Robben Island, he said. "You don't have to do that," his advisers told him. "I don't have to be president either," he replied. The first time he sat down to break bread as head of state, those same warders were his guests.