Nelson Mandela | Biography, Quotes, Education, Spouse & Death

Nelson Mandela was a social rights activist, politician, and philanthropist from South Africa he became the first black president of South Africa in 1994, after 27 years in prison. He served as the president of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling Institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation.

Biography of Nelson Mandela
  • Full Name: Nelson Mandela
  • Born: 18 July 1918, Mvezo, South Africa
  • Died: 5 December 2013, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Awards: Nobel Peace Prize, Bharat Ratna,
  • Spouse: Gra├ža Machel (m. 1998–2013), Winnie Mandela (m. 1958–1996), Evelyn Mase (m. 1944–1958)
  • Children: Zindziswa Mandela, Zenani Mandela

Early life

Mandela was born on 18 July 1918, in the tiny village of Mvezo, Cape Province, Union of South Africa. Rolihlahla Mandela was his birth name which was commonly meant' Trablemaker' in the Xhosa language. His father Henry Mandela was the Chief of the Madiba clan of the Xhosa-speaking Tembu people.

Mandela's father served as a counselor to tribal chiefs for several years but after a dispute with the local colonial magistrate, he lost his title and fortune. After this incident, his mother- Nosekeni Fanny, moved with the family to Qunu, a village in the north of Mvezo.

Although Mandela's parents were both illiterate his mother send him to a Methodist school at an age of seven, because of their Christian religion. Mandela was the first of his family who went to school. When Mandela joined the school, his teacher 'Miss Mdingane' give him the name 'Nelson' as it was a custom at that time to give him a new name.

After several years, Mandela's father came to stay in Qunu where he died because of lung disease when Mandela was only 12. After this 'acting regent of the Thembu people' - Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, adopted Mandela. He was given value and responsibilities like the chief's other children's son justice and daughter Nomafu.

Mandela studied English, Xhosa, history, and geography in a Methodist mission school which was near their palace. From the elder chiefs of the Thembu people, Mandela recognize how Black men shared their land, with white people and they misused it for their own.


Mandela complete his primary in Qunu and at Clarkebury Boarding Institute, he completed his junior certificate. After completing junior, he went to Healdtown to a secondary school, where he completed his high school. In 1939, he went to the University College of Fort Hare and studied Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

In his first year of college he studied English, anthropology, politics, and "native administration", and he mainly focused on 'Roman-Dutch law'. But because of joining in a student protest against the quality of food, the college expelled him.

In December 1940, he returned to Mqhekezweni and found that his guardian Jongintaba had arranged marriages for him and justice to make sure the properly planned life. Because of this they fled to Johannesburg and arrived there in April 1941, where Mandela worked in the mine as a security officer.

Mandela signed up to the University of South Africa and completed his bachelor of arts in 1943. He also joined LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand but cause he was working himself he was poor thus he left the university in 1952.

After imprisonment in 1962, he studied at the University of London but this degree was also uncompleted. He spent 27 years from 1962 to 1989 in prison for political offenses. In the; last month of his imprisonment, he received an LLB degree from the University of South Africa.

Political arise

In 1942 Mandela joined African National Congress and he helped in establishing African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1944. In 1949 ANC officially adopted the ANC Youth League's methods of civil disobedience, boycott, strike, and non-cooperation for citizens' rights, redistribution, and compulsory education for all children.

Up to 19-20 years, Mandela lead peaceful, nonviolent acts of defiance against the government of South Africa. In 1956 Mandela and 150 others were arrested Mandela and 150 others for their defense, were arrested and charged with treason.

Mandela and F. W. de Klerk, worked together to end apartheid and they succeed in this mission and lead the first democratic elections in 1994, in South Africa in which Mandela won the election and became president of South Africa.

Personal information

Mandela married Evelyn Mase who was a nurse by profession, in 1944. Soon They had blessed with two sons, Makgatho and Madiba Thembekile, and two daughters both with the same name Makaziwe.

Mandela on 14 June 1958 was married to Winnie Madikizela, who was a social worker. They had two daughters, Zenani and Zindziswa. They divorced in 1996.

After two years on his 80th birthday in 1998, Mandela married Graca Machel who was the first Education Minister of Mozambique, and were remained with her up to his death in 2013. He set up the 'Nelson Mandela children's fund in 1955 and also established 'The Mandela Rhodes foundation' and 'Nelson Mandela foundation'.

Prize for Mandela's works

Mandela received more than 260 awards for his work. Mandela and President de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their work in South Africa, Bharat Ratna in 1990, Lenin Peace Prize in 1990

Presidential Medal of Freedom (highest order of United States) in 2002. In November 2009 United Nations declared 18 July as international Mandela day to give him honor. The first Mandela Day was celebrated on 18 July 2010.

Presidency and Retirement

South Africa on 27 April 1994, held its first democratic elections. Mandela became the first democratically elected President of South Africa on 10 May 1994. He worked for the term 1994 to 1999, as he promise that he only worked for one term of presidency. By hosting the 'Rugby World Cup' in 1995, South Africa came on the world stage.

Mandela in 1996, signed a new constitution for the nation with a strong central government. During his presidency term, he also worked on the nation's economy and development. After his retirement in 1999, Mandela worked with his foundations and raised money to build clinics and schools. At age of 85 years in June 2004, he announced his retirement from public life. Mandela and his wife Graca Machel co-founded The Elders on 18 July 2007.

The Elders was a group of world leaders, whose aim was to work publicly and privately to find the solution to world issues. The other members of The Elders were Kofi Annan, Ela batt, Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, and Muhammad Yunus. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, and Li Zhaoxing.

Books by Mandela

Mandela's autobiography "Long walk to freedom" was published in 1994. Mandela wrote the maximum part of his autobiography in the prison of Robben Island. In 2013 a film was released which was based on Mandela's autobiography with the title "Mandela: Long walk to freedom"


In 2011, Mandela was suffered from a lung infection and became hospitalized in Johannesburg in early 2012 he has undergone surgery for stomach disease.

Further, for tests and medical treatment of his lung infection, he would be hospitalized many times- in December 2012, March 2013, and in June 2013. But on 05 December 2013, when he was 95 he died in his home in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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

~Nelson Mandela 1994

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  • Samar Chourasiya
    Samar Chourasiya 8:25 AM, October 10, 2021

    Very good biography

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