Nelson Mandela was a popular figure not only in South Africa but in the whole world, and this was mostly because of what he stood for and symbolized in life. Nelson Mandela, or Rolihlahla Mandela, was born on the 18th day of July in the year 1918 and adopted the name Nelson after he was named so by a teacher in the school where he was learning as a young boy. Nelson was born in the Transkei area of South Africa. Transkei is an area characterized by numerous mountains, grasslands and valleys. The area is located on the southwestern part of South Africa. Mandela’s father, Henry Mandela, was a tribal chief of the Tembu tribe and together with his wife and Mandela’s mother, Fanny, were related to the royal family of Tembu. Mandela, however, grew up without his father because his father passed on when he was only 9 years old. After which, an acting chief of the Tembu tribe raised him.
Mandela received his basic education in a mission school where he excelled in his education and later attended college. While in school and college, Mandela enjoyed a variety of sporting activities, including running and boxing. While at the University of Fort Hare, Mandela trained as a lawyer and among his friends in law school was Oliver Tambo. Mandela, however, moved away from the law school in 1939 after students held a series of demonstrations in protest of the way the law school was run. Even though the custom required that his parents select for him a wife, Mandela did not want to abide by this custom of arranged marriages and he therefore left his home area and went to Johannesburg. It is in the city of Johannesburg that Mandela completed his studies and eventually became a qualified lawyer.