NELSON MANDELA was born in Transkei, South Africa, on July 18, 1918. He joined the African National Congress in 1944 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party's apartheid policies after 1948. From 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island prison and then later moved to Pollsmoor prison, during which time his reputation as a potent symbol of resistance to apartheid grew steadily. Released from prison in 1990, Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He is the author of the international bestseller Long Walk to Freedom.
JOHN KANI is a South African actor, director, and playwright famous for both his writing and his dramatic performance. He won a Fleur du Cap Award for Nothing But the Truth, a play about the post-apartheid rift between those who had stayed in South Africa during the apartheid and those who returned only once it had ended. That same year, he was awarded an Obie for his extraordinary contributions to theater in the US. He has starred onstage in My Children My Africa! and The Tempest, and can be seen on screen in a variety of television shows and movies, such as Othello, An African Dream, Soweto Green, and Endgame. He narrated Conversations With Myself by Nelson Mandela.