He was raised right where he was born, Mvezo, South Africa.
He studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg.
In all, Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, 18 of those on Robben Island, a rock quarry off the coast of Cape Town. He and eight other African National Congress leaders were convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and were sentenced to life in jail in 1964.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison. Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President F.W. de Klerk released him in 1990.
In 1991, Mandela was elected the president of the African National Congress (ANC), and his friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, was elected the ANC's national chairperson. ... In 1993, Mandela and President de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work towards abolishing apartheid.