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Message from The Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation

5th December 2013

It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly make further official announcements.

We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to our nation and to the world.

We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom. The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.

Hamba Kahle Madiba


To support the government and the Mandela family we will endeavour where possible to assist with access to information.

Arrangements for the laying to rest of former President Nelson Mandela

Media accreditation arrangements for the State Funeral of President Nelson Mandela

Keeping the legacy alive

For a background document on the history and work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, as well as details of how to support their work, please click here.

Nelson Mandela’s retirement video:

Send a message of condolence:

Messages can be entered by submitting the form below following the directions. We undertake to collect all messages received and hand them to Madiba’s family.


When Mr Nelson Mandela announced his withdrawal from public life at an international media conference in Johannesburg on 1 June 2004, he explained that his humanitarian work would henceforth be passed on to the three designated organisations he had established to promote specific aspects of his legacy.

The three organisations are the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

The organisations are independent of one another but co-operate closely, and they abide by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by their respective Chief Executives in Mr Mandela’s presence in 2006. All three organisations are registered charities.

Nelson Mandela Children's Fund strives to change the way society treats its children and youth. Its flagship project as Nelson R. Mandela's lasting wish is to build a dedicated children's hospital for the children of Southern Africa. To know more about this, please go to

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, established by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, is tasked with giving practical expression to the memory and dialogue aspects of Mr Mandela’s legacy. The Centre of Memory provides an integrated public information resource on the life and times of Nelson Mandela and convenes dialogue around critical social issues.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation was established as a partnership between Mr Mandela and the Rhodes Trust, administrators of the Rhodes Scholarships, and it identifies and nurtures future generations of excellent, ethical leaders in Africa. The Mandela Rhodes Scholarships constitute its flagship programme, and more than 200 Scholars have been elected from across the African continent.

In his 2004 retirement speech Mr Mandela said:

“My diary and my public activities will, as from today, be severely and significantly reduced … This does not mean, however, that the work we have been involved in, supported and promoted, comes to an end. It has been our practice to establish organisations to do certain work and then to leave it to those organisations to get on with the job.

“The leaders of the organisations are present here today as proof and assurance that our work will continue, perhaps in an even more focussed way now that the attention shifts from the individual to the organisations.

“We are now able to concentrate very clearly on the work of these three independent but interlinked legacy organisations. I am very satisfied to tell you they are in full alignment with one another, each charged with giving expression to a specific aspect of human development. The work of the three foundations is distinct but complementary and supportive of one another.

“I hope that you all will be as excited as I am about what will be achieved by these three highly functional and well organised bodies working in our name. I hope you will also get a clear picture of how much care and thought has gone into aligning these structures and preparing them for playing a major role in South Africa and Africa for many years to come.”

Mr Mandela appealed for support for the organisations, making it clear that he wished them to operate in perpetuity, and he charged his Trustees and staff with ensuring that the institutions were financially sustainable via adequate endowments. Those who wished to support his work, he said, could choose among the organisations according to the donors’ own areas of interest.

Further details can be obtained from:

Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund: Sibongile Mkhabela,, Telephone + 27 71 356 4853

Nelson Mandela Foundation: Sello Hatang,, Telephone + 27 82 8689944

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation: Shaun Johnson,, Telephone +27 82 449 9995

How to donate:

By donating to Mr Mandela’s organisations you will be helping to sustain a unique legacy that contributes to the making of a just society. We deeply appreciate donations of any value and all donations are acknowledged. These are non-profit organisations and are compliant with all relevant financial regulations.

For persons residing in South Africa and the rest of the world - Donate online

For persons residing in the UK and Europe - Donate online

Social media links

The Nelson Mandela Foundation

Nelson Mandela Children's Fund

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation

For a chronology of the life and times of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, click here


To condense all of Mr Nelson Mandela's achievements into one chronology would be impossible; as a result, we do not claim that our work here is comprehensive. Below you will find a chronology of important events in his life. It is a work in progress and we are happy to receive your comments or additions.

Year Date Event
1918 July 18

Born Rolihlahla Mandela at Mvezo in the Transkei


Attends primary school near Qunu (receives the name ‘Nelson’ from a teacher)

Circa 1930  

Entrusted to Thembu Regent Jongintaba Dalindyebo


Undergoes initiation; Attends Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo


Attends Healdtown, the Wesleyan College at Fort Beaufort


Enrols at the University College of Fort Hare, in Alice




Escapes an arranged marriage; becomes a mine night watchman; Starts articles at the law firm Witkin, Sidelsky & Eidelman


Completes BA through the University of South Africa (UNISA)


Begins to attend African National Congress (ANC) meetings informally


Graduates with BA from Fort Hare; Enrols for an LLB at Wits University


Co-founds the ANC Youth League (ANCYL); marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase – they have four children: Thembekile (1945); Makaziwe (1947 – who dies after nine months); Makgatho (1950); Makaziwe (1954)


Elected national secretary of the ANCYL


Elected President of the ANCYL


Defiance Campaign begins; Arrested and charged for violating the Suppression of Communism Act; Elected Transvaal ANC President; Convicted with J.S Moroka, Walter Sisulu and 17 others under the Suppression of Communism Act; Sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for two years; Elected first of ANC deputy presidents; Opens South Africa’s first black law firm with Oliver Tambo


Devises the M-Plan for the ANC’s future underground operations


Watches as the Congress of the People at Kliptown launches the Freedom Charter


Arrested and joins 155 others on trial for Treason. All are acquitted by 29 March 1961


Divorces Evelyn Mase; Marries Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela – they have two daughters: Zenani (1959) and Zindzi (1960)

1960 March 21

Sharpeville Massacre

  March 30

A State of Emergency imposed and he is among thousands detained

  April 8

The ANC is banned


Goes underground; Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) is formed

1962 January 11

Leaves the country for military training and to garner support for the ANC

  July 23

Returns to South Africa

  August 5

Arrested near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal

  November 7

Sentenced to five years in prison for incitement and leaving the country without a passport

1963 May 27

Sent to Robben Island


June 12

Returned to Pretoria Local Prison
  October 9

Appears in court for the first time in what becomes known as the Rivonia Trial, with Walter Sisulu, Denis Goldberg, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Lionel 'Rusty' Bernstein, Raymond Mhlaba, James Kantor, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni

  December 3

Pleads not guilty to sabotage in what becomes known as the Rivonia Trial

1964 June 11

All except Rusty Bernstein and James Kantor are convicted and sentenced (June 12) to life

  June 13

Arrives on Robben Island

1969 July 13

Thembekile is killed in a car accident

1982 March 31

Mr Mandela, Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba and Andrew Mlangeni and later Ahmed Kathrada are sent to Pollsmoor Prison

1985 February 10

Rejects, through his daughter, Zindzi, South African President PW Botha's offer to release him if he renounces violence

1985 November 3

Admitted to the Volks Hospital for prostate surgery

  November 23 

Discharged from Volks Hospital and returned to Pollsmoor Prison

1988 August 12

Admitted to Tygerberg Hospital where he is diagnosed with Tuberculosis

  August 31

Admitted to Constantiaberg MediClinic

  December 7

Moved to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl where he was held for 14 months in a cottage

1990 February 2

ANC is unbanned

1990 February 11


  March 2

Elected ANC Deputy President

1993 December 10

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with FW de Klerk

1994 April 27

Votes for the first time in his life

  May 9

Elected by Parliament as first president of a democratic South Africa

  May 10

Inaugurated as President of the Republic of South Africa


December 14

Launches his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom

Establishes the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund


Divorces Winnie Mandela

1998 July 18

Marries Graça Machel on his 80th birthday


Steps down after one term as President, establishes the Nelson Mandela Foundation


Diagnosed with prostate cancer


Establishes the Mandela Rhodes Foundation

2004 June 1

Announces that he will be stepping down from public life

2005 January 6

Announces that his eldest son Makgatho had died of AIDS

2007 April 13

Attends the installation of his grandson Mandla as chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council

2008  July 18

Turns 90 years old, asks future generations to continue the fight for social justice


Votes for the fourth time in his life; Attends the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma on May 9 and witnesses Zuma's first State of the Nation address; Turns 91


Is formally presented with the Fifa World Cup trophy before it embarks on a tour of South Africa

2010 June 11

His great-granddaughter Zenani is killed in a car accident

2010 June 17

Attends the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani

2010 July 11

Makes a surprise appearance at the Final of the Fifa World Cup in Soweto

2010 July

Celebrates his 92nd birthday at home in Johannesburg with family and friends

2010 October 12

His second book Conversations with Myself  is published

2010 November 18

Meets the South African and American football teams that played in the Mandela Challenge match

2011 January

Is admitted to hospital in Johannesburg where he was diagnosed with a chest infection. He is discharged after two nights

2011 May 16

Votes in the local government elections

2011 June 27

His book Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations is launched

2011 June 21

Is visited at home by American First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia

2011 July 18

Celebrates his 93rd birthday with his family in Qunu, Eastern Cape

2011 October 21

Is officially counted in South Africa’s Census 2011

2011 December 25

Spends Christmas with family in Qunu

2012 February 25

Admitted to hospital for abdominal complaint

  February 26

Discharged from hospital 


July 18

Celebrates his 94th birthday with his family in Qunu, Eastern Cape

December 8

Is admitted to hospital

December 26

Is discharged from hospital
2013  January 1

Spends New Year’s Day with members of his family in Johannesburg

  March 9

Is admitted to hospital

  March 10

Is discharged from hospital

  March 27

Is admitted to hospital

  April 6

Is discharged from hospital

  June 8

Is admitted to hospital

  July 18

Spends his 95th birthday in hospital

  September 1

Is discharged from hospital

  December 5

Dies 5th December 2013