Happy 100th Birthday Nelson Mandela!

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, Cape Town, South Africa! Today we celebrate this great leader, Mandela! Father, grandfather, great-grandfather, fighter, influencer, change maker, motivator! Mandela, the man, on what would have been his one hundredth birthday!

In what has to be the greatest honor, we read and learn about Mandela in a newly released book written by his daughter and two of his young Great-Grandchildren! In, Grandad Mandela, Mandela’s life story is told to us through beautiful, powerful, inspiring words and illustrations!

This story is such a great conversation starter! We could hardly get through each page without a discussion of what was happening in the story! There is an abundance of opportunities for dialogue about the many topics and issues presented within! This is the story of Nelson Mandela as told through his Great-Grandchildren’s eyes!


Published in: 2018

Authors: Ambassador Zindzi Mandela, Zazi Madela, and Ziwelene Mandela

Illustrator: Sean Qualls

Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group

We are first introduced to Zazi and Ziwelene, Mandela’s great-grandchildren, as they ask their Grandmother Zindzi about a photo they have found of Great-Grandfather. She explains to them that her Father went to jail when she was just a toddler. Upon the children’s natural curiosity she explains why.

“Grandad was fighting for us all to be equal.” Grandma Zindzi goes on to explain to the children about Apartheid. Apartheid separated black people from white people and legally established whites as better than blacks. When explaining this to Lulu I compared Apartheid to Jim Crow, which essentially operated on the same premise here in the United States. Lulu brought up the example of, “white water”, which we have read about and discussed quite often. Her response to this notion of white people thinking they were better than blacks was that, no one person is better than another, we are all the same!

When I explained to her about this illustration as to the police brutality against blacks, she stated that they should not be police officers at all and should lose their jobs!

Grandma Zindzi continues with stories of Mandela’s childhood! How he learned and embraced this wisdom from his elders to forgive his oppressors! Mandela lived his life based on this premise and used it to influence and change the world! The children also learn that their Great-Grandmother, Winnie Madela was born among the Pondo people in Bizana where the best warriors came from! The children were amazed to find out that both their Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandfather Mandela, who came from the Thembu people, were both royal families!

Grandma Zindzi then goes on to explain Justice, and how Madela studied law so he could help end Apartheid and bring about fairness and equality in South Africa!

This was not Mandela’s fight alone! Many people were fighting about the injustice and suffering among black people in South Africa! They were fighting to free Mandela! Both black and white people!

And finally, after twenty-seven long years, Mandela was free! They had not broken his spirit! Mandela was stronger than ever! In his lifetime Mandela saw Apartheid come to an end and he became the first black President of South Africa!

Grandma Zindzi’s last message in the story is one of, Ubuntu. Which means, “I am because we all are.” Essentially, treat one another like you want to be treated! If everyone lived their lives based on this principle there would be no injustice or suffering in the world!

Grandad Mandela, is a great resource for introducing and teaching children about the life, work and teachings of Nelson Mandela. And alsk for beginning discussions on issues which affect so many people around this world such as: Race, Equality, Privilege, Police Brutality, Racism Discrimination, Justice, Apartheid, Civil Rights,Volunteering, etc…

Let us teach one another and especially the youth of today, about the past injustices so that we may all move forward with knowledge to a brighter future!


Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Kids for providing us with a copy of, Grandad Mandela, to read, learn and share! This was an educational and very inspiring read!

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A Children's Book Journey!