Mandela was jailed for 27 years because of his so called illegal protests. He stood up against a government that was committing human rights abuses against black South Africans. He was released in 1990, and powerfully rose to become leader of African National Congress. He looked to steer his country toward a democratic future. The chances of this happening were slight with the Civil War ahead and a collapsing economy.
I think of Mandela as my hero for one main reason. The fact that he was jailed for 27 years and didn't give up on spreading his message of freedom is truly heroic. Most people, including myself, would have given up because of extreme doubts. Mandela could have just given up his fight and become the average citizen. Instead, he perservered for the next 23 years of his life by dedicating everything he had to give to African American freedom.