The Foundation

IMG 5516

Although the Museum does not currently operate at its Mvezo site as a result of a decision by the Governing Council, Mvezo is a key part of the history of Nelson Mandela and his family.

It was in Mvezo, on 18 July 1918, that Rolihlahla Mandela was born. His inkaba (umbilical cord) is buried there, on the banks of the Mbhashe River. His great grandfather was Ngubengcuka, the king of the Thembu people. He died in 1932. One of his sons was Nelson Mandela’s grandfather, and gave him his surname.

Nelson Mandela was the son of Chief Gadla Mphakanyiswa, chief of the village of Mvezo. Nelson Mandela was was only two years old when his father ran foul of the local magistrate by resisting interference in his clan’s traditional systems, and was deposed.

The family was forced to leave Mvezo, crossing the river to find shelter with relatives in Qunu.

Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Chief Zwelivelile Mandela, lives there now, after rights to the land reverted to the Mandela family in 2007.