who is Nelson Mandela?/What is his background? Nelson Mandela was born on the 18th of July,1918 in a village called Mvezo.He came from a large family. Gadla (nelson Mandela's father)had four wives and thirteen children,nelson being his youngest. When nelson was a child he lived in a bee-hive hut,the walls made of mud and the roof of grass. Mandela slept on the floor of the hut , on a mat. This shows us that Nelson Mandela grew up with very little and his family poor but he still had a happy childhood and he became a great leader despite having nothing. When Nelson was seven years old his father sent him to school(no one in his family had ever gone to school before).Nelsons father died when he was nine years old.After his father died his mother could no longer afford to send him to school.Nelson moved to Mqhekezweni for several years and stayed with Jongintaba who became his guardian and treated him like a son.By the age of 16 Mandalas career seemed certain.To become an adviser to Thembu chiefs, like his father.