FRONTLINE presents the story of the man behind the myth, probing Mandela's character, leadership and life's method through intimate recollections with friends, political allies, adversaries, and his fellow prisoners and jailers on Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 prison years, transforming himself in prison from an impetuous, risk-taking radical into a mature leader and statesman. Together with the many interviews, unique photos, and rare archival film, the program also interweaves analyses from Mandela's biographers, Richard Stengel and Anthony Sampson, illuminating not only what separates Mandela from ordinary men - his singular pursuit of his life's mission, his unwavering moral certitude, his own sense of his destiny - but also, what makes him like the rest of us: his vanity, his anger, his stubbornness.
This two-hour biography is filled with insights from Mandela's noble upbringing in the rural Transkei where his values and attitudes were shaped by tradition and royal prerogative - to old colleagues' anecdotes about his self-discipline, guarded privacy and quite early sense of his own historic destiny. The program also examines Mandela's electric relationship with Winnie Madikizela Mandela and chronicles Mandela's negotiations with the increasingly embattled white rulers of South Africa.
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