Mqhekezweni is a significant place in the life of Nelson Mandela, it is fundamental in shaping his leadership qualities.

Mthatha based tour guide, Zimisele Gamakhulu says “That is where (Mqhekezweni) Nelson writes in his book, that is where he learnt about African democracy, where the leader, leads from behind.”

Mandela spent most of his formative years at Mqhekezweni, where he would sit behind the kraal and listen to the regent king, Jongintaba Dalindyebo presiding over local disputes.

Mqhekezweni as it is today (2018):

When his father passed away, Rholihlahla Mandela – as he was then known – was sent to from Qunu to Mqhekezweni by his mother as per the father’s dying wish. “He (Mandela’s father) left an unwritten will, that – I want this child to be sent to school. The mother decided to follow the unwritten will, and she took Nelson to Jongintaba.” says Gamakhulu.

Mqhekezweni is also where he met Justice Mtirara, who according to Chief Zanomthetho Mtirara, played an important role in mentoring Mandela. “When he got to Mqhekezweni he meets up with the regent’s son, my grandfather, Chief Justice, who was four years his elder,  who under his influence inspired Mandela to begin with.”

It is also at eMqhekezweni where Madiba became indoda (a man) under the guidance of King Jongintaba Dalindyebo.

For more on this story, see video below: