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Giving the delicate health situation the global peace icon Nelson Mandela is living we want to honor him by talking about his enormous legacy and part of that legacy is of course his children. Makgatho Lewanika Mandela was born June 26, 1950. He is the son of Mandela’s first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase, a nursing student living in Johannesburg, who grew up in Mandela’s home province.
Makgatho’s parents married in 1944 but their union ended in divorce in 1957 after 13 years of his constant absences, devotion to revolutionary agitation, and the fact she was a Jehovah’s Witness, a religion which requires political neutrality. The couple had two sons, Madiba Thembekile “Thembi” and Makgatho; and two daughters, both named Makaziwe (known as Maki; born 1947 and 1953). Their first daughter died aged nine months, and they named their second daughter in her honor. All their children were educated at the United World College of Waterford Kamhlaba.
Makgatho Mandela became a lawyer with a background in insurance who kept a relatively low profile, he married first wife Ann Moseshla with whom he had four children, including Mandla Mandela-full name Zwelivelile Mandela who is the chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council.
Makgatho married a second time to Hi Zondi Mandela who died at the age of 26 in 2003 from pneumonia. Widowed and with four children Makgatho 54, died in a Johannesburg clinic where he had been receiving treatment for more than a month. He died of AIDS on 6 January 2005. It was later revealed his wife Zondi had also succumbed to the disease.
Mandela’s epic words when his son passed were:
Let us give publicity to HIV/AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and to say somebody has died because of HIV. And people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary,’
He was his only surviving son.
Thembi Mandela was killed in a car accident on 13 July 1969 at the age of 25 while his father was in prison on Robben Island. A devastated Mr Mandela was filled with anguish at not being allowed to attend his funeral or to have access to details about the crash. We can see picture of father and son below. Madiba Thembekile would have turned 69 on February 23. Madiba Thembekile Mandela was the older brother of Makgatho having been born in 1944.
Molly de Jager was Thembi Mandela’s wife and the mother of his children Ndileka and Nandi. His oldest daughter Ndileka Mandela, was four years old when her father died. Mr Mandela wrote several letters to friends and family detailing his grief and despair over his son’s death and his powerlessness as a prisoner to do anything. He only was informed of his son’s death by telegram the day after the newspaper appeared.
Thembi was nicknamed ‘Styles’ because of his stylish dress sense.
Now all of our prayers go out to the extensive family in this difficult and historic time.