The world statesman celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday 18 July 2008.
As a lawyer and activist he campaigned against South Africa's apartheid regime. Accused of trying to overthrow the government, he spent nearly 30 years in prison. After his release in 1990, he went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and to become his country's first black president.
Here, we look back at the extraordinary life and career of Nelson Mandela.
Includes radio archive and interviews with Nelson Mandela, his law partner Oliver Tambo, and friend and liberal politician Helen Suzman.
Production by Paul Kerley. Some archive audio courtesy ITN. Photos: AFP, AP, BBC, Getty Images, Rex Features and UWC Robben Island Museum Mayibuye