City are currently in Durban on their pre-season tour and will face AmaZulu next Thursday - Mandela's 95th birthday.
"I happened to read a lot about South Africa when I was younger and followed with a passion what happened in South Africa," Kompany told reporters.
"Nelson Mandela was one of my heroes. He was one of my examples and I carry a lot of what he taught me and my family through the books I read on him."
Kompany also said that he and the City players hope to sample a small piece of the atmosphere that surrounded the 2010 World Cup that was held in South Africa.