10 Interesting Facts About Nelson Mandela

Posted July 18, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment

Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela, who is often considered one of the most inspirational and beloved leaders in history. In honor of this occasion, check out these 10 interesting facts about the former South African president and freedom fighter.


Image: Library of Congress

1. Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, South Africa. He was given the name Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term meaning “troublemaker.” Later, he would fondly be called “Madiba” by the people of South Africa and become known as the “Father of the Nation.”

2. Mandela’s great grandfather was Ngubengcuka, who was the king of the Thembu people in the southern part of the Transkei region of South Africa.

3. His father, Gadia Henry Mandela, was a local chief and councillor to the monarch. A polygamist, he had four wives and Mandela’s mother was his third wife.

4. He was baptized as a Methodist and attended a local Methodist school at the age of 7. His teacher gave him the English name of “Nelson.”

5. After his father’s death, Mandela was taken under the care of the Thembu regent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, for whom his father had served as an adviser.

6. During his 20s, Mandela became actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. He would spend 27 years of his life in prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state. He was finally released in 1990.

7. After his release from prison, Mandela helped lead his country to a peaceful end to decades of apartheid. In 1993, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime and laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

8. In 1994, Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. He would only served one term as president.

9. After his presidency, Mandela remained devoted to promoting peace and social justice. He established the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 1999. He also became a vocal advocate of HIV/AIDS awareness, rural development, and education.

10. In 2009, the United Nations established the anniversary of Mandela’s birthday as Nelson Mandela International Day in remembrance of Mandela’s inspiring work and his contribution to peace around the world.

Explore Nelson Mandela’s family tree on Geni!

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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