Nelson Mandela - BiographyThe life and times of Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela became known and respected all over the world as a symbol of the struggle against apartheid and all forms of racism; the icon and the hero of African liberation. Mandela or Madiba, as he was affectionately known, has been called a freedom fighter, a great man, South Africa's Favourite Son, a global icon and a living legend, among countless other names. He has been an activist, a political prisoner, South Africa's first democratically elected president, an international peacemaker and statesman, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. As a husband and a father, Mandela sacrificed the joys of family life and of seeing his children grow up. Most ordinary South Africans knew little about Mandela during his prison years, as the apartheid government suppressed information, and what was released was biased. But prison bars could not prevent him from continuing to inspire his people to struggle and sacrifice for their liberation. The early years
Biography – Nelson Mandela FoundationRolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape, on 18 July 1918. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and his father was Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, principal counsellor to the Acting King of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo. In 1930, when he was 12 years old, his father died and the young Rolihlahla became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place in Mqhekezweni1. Hearing the elders’ stories of his ancestors’ valour during the wars of resistance, he dreamed also of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people. He attended primary school in Qunu where his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the name Nelson, in accordance with the custom of giving all schoolchildren “Christian” names. He completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went on to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute, where he matriculated. Nelson Mandela (top row, second from left) on the steps of Wits University.