Remembering Nelson Mandela — History in the Headlines

He was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, into a royal family of the Xhosa- speaking Thembu tribe in the South African village of Mvezo. (In South Africa, Mandela is often called by his clan name, Madiba.)

     His father, who was Mvezo’s chief, died when he was nine, and the young Mandela was adopted by a high- ranking Thembu regent who groomed the boy for tribal leadership