Mabel Notancu Timakwe

Is your surname Timakwe?

Research the Timakwe family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Mabel Notancu Timakwe (Mandela)

Death: October 15, 2002
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa Mandela, Chief and Nosekeni Nonqaphi Fanny, Right Hand Wife
Wife of NN Timakwe
Mother of Kuselwa Timakwe
Sister of President Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate and Constance Mbekeni Mandela
Half sister of Daligqili Mandela; Leabie Philiso Mandela; Nokuthamba Bhulehluthi; Private; Private and 2 others

Managed by: Sharon Lee Doubell
Last Updated:
view all 18

Immediate Family

About Mabel Notancu Timakwe

Mandela's sisters Mabel and Leabie was born in the remote South African village of Qunu; would recall with pleasure the simple country life of their childhood in Qunu, revolving around the three round huts or rondavels in their mother's kraal-one for sleeping, one for cooking, one for storing food-fenced off with poles. The rondavels were made by their mother from soil molded into bricks; the simple chairs and cupboards were also made of soil, and the stove was a hole in the ground. There were no beds or tables, only mats. The roofs were made of grass held together with ropes. They lived largely on maize, which was stored in holes (izisele) in the kraals. The boys spent the day herding the cattle, and the girls and women of the family prepared the food together in one of the houses, grinding the maize between stones, cooking it in black three-legged metal pots and mixing it with sour milk. The family would all take the main meal together in the evening, sitting on the ground eating from a single dish. Under threatening skies, a sombre Nelson Mandela buried the younger sister he admired so much for the simplicity of her traditional life. Notancu Mabel Timakwe, Born 1924, who succumbed to asthma on October 14,2002, was laid to rest beside her husband in the Timakwe family graveyard on Wednesday. She had eight children, 18 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.Xwili village, serviced by a potholed road off the N2 highway to Umtata, is about 15km from Qunu, where the Mandelas come from and where Madiba still has a house. A notice on the coffin proclaimed: "Socialism is the future. Build it now.” Paying tribute during the service, Kuselwa Timakwe spoke of her mother's strength in times of great hardship while their father was still alive working on the mines in Johannesburg and her mother's brother was imprisoned on Robben Island. After the service Mandela said Timakwe was the sister of whom he was fondest, and he spoke of his admiration for her simple life.She spent her last few years in a comfortable face-brick home built for herby her brother.

Mandela's sister (78) succumbs to asthma attack October 15, 2002, 18:30 Nelson Mandela's last surviving sister, Mabel (78), has passed away at Qunu in the Eastern Cape. She suffered an asthma attack in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The family gathered today to share the pain for the loss of their loved one. Mandela has expressed shock, sadness and a sense of deep loss of his sister. Notancu, as she was affectionately known, is the last of Mandela's three sisters.

He described his sister in his famous book, Long Walk to Freedom, as the most practical and easy going of his sisters. She spent her life in her homestead at Xhwili Village near Umtata. The family says though she suffered from rheumatism and old age illnesses, she was strong.

Lungile Timakwe, a family spokesperson, says: "She suffered from asthma for the past two months. She had been admitted in hospital and was discharged last week. She moved to her maiden home after another asthma attack. It was arranged for her to stay at Qunu to enable her to be close to her doctor. In the early hours of the morning she vomited blood and passed away."

She is survived by seven children, 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.,2172,45094,00.html

view all

Mabel Notancu Timakwe's Timeline

October 15, 2002