Nelson Mandela Facts for Kids Nelson Mandela Quotes for Kids

Nelson Mandela Facts

  • Nelson Mandela was born on July 18th, 1918 in Mvezo South Africa.
  • Nelson Mandela’s real name was Rolihlahla Mandela.
  • Rolihlahla means “pulling the branch of a tree” or “troublemaker” in Xhosa.
  • Xhosa is an African language of the Xhosa people.
  • In elementary school Nelson Mandela’s teacher gave him the name Nelson.  It was common for African children to be given English names.
  • Nelson Mandela was the first person in his family to attend school.
  • Mandela attended the College of Fort Hare, he also attended the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg South Africa where he studied law.
  •  Nelson Mandela fought for the end of apartheid.
  •  Apartheid was a system of segregation in South Africa.
  • During Apartheid white people and black people were separated a schools, libraries, parks and other public places.
  • Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress or the ANC in 1944.
  • Nelson Mandela opened up the first black owned law firm in Johannesburg South Africa in 1952.
  • He followed Ghandi’s non-violent approach to fight apartheid and staged non-violent protests.
  • On June 12th 1964 Nelson Mandela was classified as a terrorist sentenced to life in prison for planning to overthrow the government for fighting for human rights.
  • He was sent to Robben Island Prison.
  • While in prison Nelson Mandela read Invictus a poem by William Ernest Henley to fellow prisoners for inspiration. The poem’s about not giving up. (scroll down to read Invictus).
  • Mandela spent 27 years in prison and received an early release in 1990.
  • After his release from prison Mandela continue to campain for the end of apartheid.
  • He worked with South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk to end apartheid.
  • Apartheid came to an end by 1993.
  • Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk both won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 in their efforts for ending apartheid.
  • Nelson Mandela campaigned and was elected the first black president of South Africa in 1994.  He served as president from 1994-1999.
  • It was the first fully democratic election in South Africa where all people were given the right to vote.
  • July 18th is known as Nelson Mandela Day to remember Mandela’s achievements in fighting for human rights. On Nelson Mandela Day people are encouraged to help others.
  • Nelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013.  He was 95.
  • Fun Facts about Nelson Mandela:  He enjoyed boxing, was married three times and had six children.

Nelson Mandela Quotes for Kids

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion, people must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human hear than its opposite.”

“It is not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success.”

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

“Do not judge me by my successes judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

“The greatest glory in living lives not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

“It always seems impossible until its done.”

“Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.”

“A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy.  Then he becomes your partner.”

“Money won’t create success the freedom to make it will.”

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

“As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

“There is no passion to be found in playing small- in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

“It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

“There is not easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”



By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the caption of my soul.