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South African leader Nelson Mandela described Mohandas Gandhi as "the archetypical anti-colonial revolutionary" and acknowledged the earlier leader's influence on the independence movement in South Africa. Mandela is often described as the South African Gandhi. Both men began their careers as western-trained lawyers. Both served terms in Johannesburg's infamous Fort prison for their activism. Mandela himself often cited Gandhi as an inspiration and claimed the Indian leader as a son of South Africa, stating that "India gave South Africa Gandhi the barrister and Africa gave India back Mahatma Gandhi the Great Soul."For more than ten years, Mandela and the ANC clung to Gandhi's example of non-violence as a political tactic. When increasingly violent repression by the South African government finally forced the ANC to abandon non-violence in favor of militant action in 1962, Mandela justified the decision by citing a 1938 statement by Gandhi that violence was preferable to "emasculation of an entire race."Gandhi's influence remained important to Mandela even after the African leader has abandoned non-violence. Imprisoned on Robben Island for an indefinite term in 1964, Mandela found a model for using prison life as a time for study and reflection in the prison memoirs of Gandhi and Nehru. In 1999, Mandela received the Gandhi/King Award for Non-violence from the World Movement for Non-violence. Ms. Gandhi described Mandela as "the living legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, the Gandhi of South Africa."
they both were well known and both were recognized as the idols and very influental to other leaders and campaigners. They also went to prison due to their campaigns.