Nelson Mandela is one of the world's longest-detained prisoners, a universal symbol of social justice, and a man who stands for non-racialism and democracy. ‘Mandela: story and symbol’ looks briefly at the career of Mandela and answers the question: why is his story so important to the world today? In 1990, after his release, he became an internationally recognised icon. He symbolically and practically led the movement of resistance against the injustice of apartheid. Rather than admiring Mandela as such, consideration should be given to the process of meaning-making (including his own) which caused his achievements to be admired. In some ways Mandela is an unlikely figure to have received the adulation he did.