Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa on July 25,1918 the son of Chief Henry Mandela of the Tembu Tribe. He was educated at University College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand and qualified in law in 1942. In 1944 he joined the African National Congress where he engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party's apartheid policies.
In 1962, after advocating for a military wing within the ANC, Mandela was arrested and sentenced to five years' imprisonment with hard labour. In 1963, Mandela and many other ANC leaders were arrested and brought to stand trial for plotting to violently overthrow the government. On June 12, 1964, eight of the accused, including Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mandela was released from prison on February 18, 1990 and was elected President of the ANC in 1991 at the first national conference of the ANC held inside South Africa after the organization had been officially banned in 1960.
Listen to Mandela's powerful words as read by award-winning actor Danny Glover, excerpted from the Time Warner Audio release Long Walk to Freedom.