Ndaba Mandela

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Ndaba Mandela
Ndaba headshot. jpg.jpg
Ndaba Thembekile Zweliyajika Mandela

(1982-12-23) 23 December 1982 (age 39)
Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
EducationBachelor's Degree from the University of Pretoria in 2008.

Ndaba Thembekile Zweliyajika Mandela (born 23 December 1982) is an author, mentor, spokesperson, entrepreneur, political consultant, and the grandson of Nelson Mandela. He was born in Soweto, South Africa.

Mandela is currently the co-founder and chairman of the Mandela Institute for Humanity[1]

He is active in keeping the legacy of his grandfather alive, and introducing Nelson Mandela to a younger generation. He is the co-founder and co-chairman of Africa Rising Foundation. He is also the founder of the Mandela Project. He was part of the team for the Mandela Centenary in 2018.[2][3]

He is a member of the Pan-African Youth Council which works closely with the African Union.[4][5][6]

He is the longest serving global ambassador for UNAIDS, a specialized agency of the United Nations that campaigns to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Both of his parents died from the disease.[7][8]

Early life[edit]

Ndaba Mandela was born into a family of chieftains. His grandfather Nelson was both a direct descendant of the holders of the kingship of the Thembu people and heir to the chieftaincy of Mvezo in his own right. The latter dignity is currently held by Ndaba's elder half-brother Mandla.

This notwithstanding, Ndaba grew up in what can be called a broken home. His father Makgatho Mandela grew up without a father. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned while his family was growing up, and he became a street hustler in Soweto. After Ndaba was born, his family moved to the Eastern Cape. He spent the first years of his schooling in a small town called Cofimvaba. He was seven years old when he met his grandfather Nelson Mandela. Mandela had been imprisoned on Robben Island. Ndaba was eleven years old when he went to live with his grandfather. He spent two decades living with him - being cared for, and then caring for his grandfather.[9][10][11]

In the Xhosa culture, boys between ages of 18 and 21 are taken to the mountains to be circumcised. Ndaba was 21 years of age when he was circumcised. They are taught their roles and responsibilities in becoming men. Roles and responsibilities that entail getting married, being a husband, a father, and having your own home.[citation needed]


Ndaba majored in political science and international relations at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

He has worked for the Japanese Embassy as a political consultant.

Africa Rising was founded to promote a positive image of Africa. Ndaba was featured in an online post by BET in which he spoke about his foundation, Africa Rising. Ndaba says his foundation aims to publicise a positive image of Africa through programming, films, media and social interaction, to change the mindset of young Africans and the world at large.[12]

In 2014 Ndaba was named one of the "28 Men of Change", by BET. The Men of Change is in honor of America's Black History Month. It honors Black men that have excelled in industries or projects that promote black brilliance.[12]

He published his first book in June 2018 titled Going to the Mountain: Life Lessons from My Grandfather, Nelson Mandela. He says that his grandfather taught him to create their own legacies and to give back to society. Ndaba says about his book, that he has taken the life lessons that his grandfather taught him and some of his own to relate to a younger audience. So that people can understand his grandfather's values.[4]

In 2018 Ndaba partnered with Prince Harry, and Sir Elton John to launch a campaign to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. They kicked off the global campaign at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.[13] In an interview with the Hill at the Library of Congress, June 2018, Ndaba is quoted as saying why he wrote the book, “I wanted people to know Nelson Mandela outside of being a statesman, outside of being this great iconic leader that they know and just to know him at the human level as a granddad."


"We have to break down the misconceptions that exist surrounding Africa. Africa is not just a place of war, poverty, disease and dictators. Africa is the birthplace of humanity."

"I don't always have his patience. I could never have spent 27 years in prison and then forgiven my enemies the way he did. But I learned so much from him and I believe he saw a good man in me. I may not be able to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, but we can all walk in his light."

“The world looks up to South Africa a lot as a country that is expected to stand on a pedestal of values and morality, because we are a country that produced this great international icon. But granddad always taught us to create our own legacies.” Ndaba Mandela[7][14]


  1. ^ "Mandela Institute for Humanity". Mandela Institute for Humanity. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Pan-African Gala (Mandela's Legacy) @ No Vacancy Lounge - Hosted by Ndaba Mandela, Live Music, DJ". PDX Pipeline. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  3. ^ waweru, Kiundu. "Ndaba Mandela: We need to carve our African dream".
  4. ^ a b "Ndaba Mandela: Lessons from my grandfather and honouring his humility". 16 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Don't you dare call Madiba a sell-out: Ndaba Mandela".
  6. ^ "Ndaba Mandela - APB Speakers". APB Speakers.
  7. ^ a b "Ndaba Mandela on how his grandfather Nelson took him in as a boy and how he's protecting his legacy - Independent.ie".
  8. ^ WRITER, ALAN BURKE STAFF. "Ndaba Mandela speaks of Africa and his famous grandfather".
  9. ^ "On the Record With… Ndaba Mandela".
  10. ^ Moudou, Linord. "Grandson Shares Mandela's Life Lessons in New Book".
  11. ^ "How Nelson Mandela Taught Me To Love". 2 July 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Ndaba Mandela: An icon of change - DESTINY MAN". 6 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Prince Harry, Elton John, and Nelson Mandela's Grandson Are Fighting HIV Together".
  14. ^ "New African Magazine releases Mandela Centenary Special edition Guest Edited by his daughter". 11 July 2018.

External links[edit]