When Mandela was 16, it was time for him to partake in the traditional African circumcision ritual to mark his entrance into manhood.
The ceremony of circumcision was not just a surgical procedure, but an elaborate ritual in preparation for manhood.
Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013, at age 95.
Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, in the tiny village of Mvezo, on the banks of the Mbashe River in Transkei, South Africa.
He learned how the African people had lived in relative peace until the coming of the white people.
The village was nestled in a narrow grassy valley; there were no roads, only foot paths that linked the pastures where livestock grazed.
The family lived in huts and ate a local harvest of maize, sorghum, pumpkin and beans, which was all they could afford.
Because their land was controlled by white men, they would never have the power to govern themselves, the chief said.
He went on to lament that the promise of the young men would be squandered as they struggled to make a living and perform mindless chores for white men.