viernes, diciembre 06, 2013



Nelson -
the name given to him on his first day at school by his teacher, Miss Mdingane.At the time it was customary to give African children English names, as a legacy of the colonial days in which the rulers could not often pronounce African names. No one knows why Miss Mdingane chose the name Nelson, although Mandela suggested in his autobiography that he was given the name Nelson after the British sea captain Lord Nelson.

Rolihlahla -
his birth name, given to him by his father. In his native language of Xhosa it means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but colloquially it means “troublemaker”.

Mandela -
his family surname

Madiba -
the name of the clan of which Mandela is a member. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century. It is considered very polite to use someone’s clan name.

Tata -
in Xhosa, the language of the Madiba tribe, the word means “father”, but it is a term of endearment given to him by many South Africans regardless of their age.

Dalibhunga –
the name he was given aged 16, after undergoing Xhosa initiation. It means “creator or founder of the council”. The correct use of this name when greeting Mandela was “Aaah! Dalibhunga”.

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