Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013) was born in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then part of South Africa's Cape Province. He was a man of several names.

At birth he was given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning "troublemaker." However, when Mandela entered school, a teacher gave him the name Nelson: at that time, it was customary for Africans to give children English names.

Mandela was also known by his circumcision name, Dalibunga.

In later years Mandela became known by his clan name, Madiba. The clan or family name represents a person's ancestry. The meaning is deeper than a surname and is used as a sign of respect and affection. The clan name would normally have been used in an intimate context, but in Mandela’s case the wider public had also taken to referring to him as Madiba. The origin of the name is that of a chief who ruled in the 18th century. Madiba is also a term used for older people, which may be more fitting than "troublemaker" for a man known as the father of the South African nation.

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