Thembekile Mandela was born on the 18th of July, in the year 1918. He was the son of Nelson Mandela and his first wife, Evelyn Mase. Thembekile was raised in his father’s rural home of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. He was educated at Healdtown, a Wesleyan college in Fort Beaufort, where Nelson Mandela also studied.
After finishing his schooling, Thembekile began working for the African National Congress (ANC), the political party his father was a member of. He worked as a driver and bodyguard for ANC leaders such as Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu. In 1946, he married Winnie Madikizela, with whom he had four children.
Thembekile remained active in the ANC, and was arrested and jailed several times for his political activities. He was also involved in the Defiance Campaign of 1952 and the Treason Trial of 1956. In 1961, he went into exile in Tanzania, where he worked for the ANC’s external mission.
Thembekile Mandela returned to South Africa in 1990, after Nelson Mandela was released from prison. He rejoined the ANC