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I Am Ndileka: More than my surname – Ndileka Mandela


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I Am Ndileka: More than my surname – Ndileka Mandela

Ndileka Mandela unpacks her book 'I Am Ndileka: More than my surname'. (Camera & editing: Darlene Creamer)

20th November 2019


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This long awaited memoir grants deep insights and a greater understanding into the life of Ndileka Mandela, much more than her surname - Liaqat Alli Azam, Director - Leading Like Mandela

I Am Ndileka tells the story of a woman who has made great strides in society, but still faces many challenges. A social activist, former ICU nurse and the head of a rural upliftment organisation known as the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, she has lived a challenging life – a labyrinth of highs and lows.

Even though South Africa has been emancipated from the apartheid regime and so-called gender inequality structures have been removed, women still face oppression and abuse. In October 2017, as part of the #MeToo campaign to denounce sexual violence, Ndileka disclosed for the first time that she had been raped by her then partner in her own bed five years before.


Follow Ndileka on her journey as she deals with death in her family, patriarchy, motherhood, depression, being homeless and surviving rape and abuse.

I want to confront some of my ghosts through this book and finally lay them to rest. Contrary to popular belief, people think being from this family is a walk in the park and that we perhaps do not go through the same challenges as everyone else. My life has been a labyrinth of highs and lows and I’m still standing. I thank God for that and my ancestors for all their intercessions. I am the sum of all the decisions I have made so far, good and bad. I am Ndileka Mandela, the first of the first of the first, and this is my story.

Along the journey of tackling the challenges and expectations that come with her last name – things that she did not ask for but are asked of her nonetheless – Ndileka finds her voice.




Ndileka Mandela is a social activist, former ICU nurse and the head of a rural upliftment organisation known as the Thembekile Mandela Foundation. Born to Madiba Thembekile Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s first born), who died in a car accident while his father was in prison, and the eldest grandchild of Nelson Mandela.


I Am Ndileka: More than my surname is published by Jacana Media


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