As a student at Duke University Divinity School in the early 00's, I had the privilege of studying under Bishop Peter Storey, former General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (pre-Tutu) and staffer of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He chose Archbishop Tutu to lead the TRC. In mid 2003, Bishop Storey took me to Cape Town, South Africa for three months where I worked with Burundian and Congolese refugees in connection with Woodstock Methodist Church. This experience working in post-apartheid South Africa is far and away the most important shaper in my community-building efforts. Not surprisingly then, Nelson Mandela, along with Desmond Tutu and Stephen Biko, have become heroes and models for my life and work.
Bono once said that Long Walk to Freedom should be read by everyone alive. I agree! Mandela's tales of activism, violent rebellion, incarceration for a quarter century, and eventual commitment to nonviolent social action, are very important for understanding world events in the last half of the 20th century. His conduct on Robben Island and post-release from prison have rightfully made him a saint-like figure in the world. The book is long at 600 plus pages, but it's a page turner. You won't regret making the effort.