Nelson Mandela Facts and Top 15 Best Mandela Quotes


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African social activist and former president born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa. Given the name Rholihlahla a Xhosa name literally meaning pulling the branch of the tree’ but more commonly translates as troublemaker.’ His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and chief councilor to the monarch in Thembu community. Mandela father died when he was twelve and Mandela was placed under the care of his father’s cousin and acting paramount chief of Thembu known as Jongintaba Dalidyebo. Mandela was brought up together with his sisters by their mother in Qunu.

Mandela was the first member of his family to join school. He joined a local mission school where he received primary education. At the Methodist run school, Mandela studied English, Xhosa, history and geography. It was during this stage that he developed an interest in history. At school his teacher gave the name Nelson as it was required by the British education system. When Mandela was 16 he was circumcised as it was in Thembu traditional rituals. This was to prepare him to from boyhood to manhood.

© Comugnero Silvana -
© Comugnero Silvana –

In 1939 Mandela enrolled at the University of Fort Hare, the only institution of higher learning for the blacks in South Africa. Fort Hare was considered equivalent to the university of Oxford University drawing scholars from all parts of sub Sahara Africa. In the university he studied law to prepare for a career in civil service as a clerk which was regarded as the best profession a black man could have obtained at that time. In 1940 Mandela, a student leader in the Student Representatives Council was expelled from Fort Hare University after he led a strike.

Shortly after his return home Jongitaba announced that he had arranged marriage for his son Justice and his adopted son Nelson, the legend wanted to make sure that Mandela life was well planned as the custom dictated. Mandela run away and settled in Johannesburg where he worked as a clerk and a guard. In 1942 he enrolled in the University South Africa, where he received a degree in law.

Mandela became actively involved in anti-apartheid movement, joining Africa National Congress in 1946.This is where Mandela met Walter Sisulu, who would later become his lifelong friend and political mentor. It was at in Sisulu’s home where he met Evelyn Mase, who he married in 1944.

At the height of the Second World War, a small group of young members of ANC banded together and agreed in transforming ANC to a more radical mass movement. They believed that the constitution running ANC was not adequate to emancipate the blacks from apartheid. This group of young leaders supported armed struggle after peaceful protests were met with brutal government crackdown. Mandela’s group campaigned for demonstration, protest marches riots and strikes around the country. In response to the government banned all the opposition movements, learning this Mandela went underground to star armed struggle.

Mandela was arrested in 1961 and in 1964 he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting to sabotage the South Africa apartheid regime. Mandela was incarcerated on Robben Island for 18 years before he was transferred to Poolsmoors Prison for 6 year and later moved Verster prison. He was released in 1991 after international pressure on the Fredrick De Klerk’s government.

Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa 1n1994 and stayed in office for only one term before retirement in 1999. He united the Blacks, Whites and the Reds by emphasizing on personal and nation forgiveness and reconciliation. Mandela oversaw the formation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate and grant amenities to all those involved apartheid crimes in South Africa.

Mandela had married three times. On his first marriage, he married Evelyn Mase from 1944 to 1957.They had four children namely: Makaziwe Makgatho Madiba Thembekile, and Maki.From 1958 to 1996 he was married to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela; they had two daughters together namely: Zindziswa and Zenani. In 1998 he married Graca Machel, a Mozambican humanitarian .Mandela also wrote a book titled a Long Walk to Freedom’ and Conversation with Myself’

Mandela died on 5 December 2013 after suffering from prolonged respiratory infection at the age of 95. Mandela was mourned nationally and laid to rest in his boyhood home in Qunu.

 “ It always seems impossible until it’s done ”



When people are determined they can overcome anything ”



“ After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb ”



 “ Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again



When people are determined they can overcome anything 



“ Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished



We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right



“ Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will



Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world ”



Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies ”



Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again ”



Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world ”



Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace ”



If you are poor, you are not likely to live long ”



“ A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination ”




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