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Nelson Mandela was given the name "Rolihlahla" at birth by his father on July 18, 1918. It translates literally to "pulling the branch of a tree" or "trouble maker". He was born at Mvezo, a tiny village on the banks of the Mbashe River, in the district of Umata, the capital of the Trankei. The Transkei is 800 miles east of Cape Town, 550 miles south of Johannesburg and is inbetween the Kei River and the Natal Border. His father, Gadla Henry Mpakanyiswa, was confirmed as chief of Mvezo by the king of the Thembu tribe. Nelson's father had three wives, the third was Nelson's mother. Nelson is the youngest of his father's four sons and has three sisters. The Xhosa Tribe: Nelson is a member of the Xhosa tribe which is part of the Nguni people. The Xhosa are proud people who believe in the importance of laws, education, and courtesty. Every individual knew his or her place. They acquired knowledge through observation. In his household, he never asked his parents a question, he must learn it himself. There were many stories passed on from generation to generation depicting Xhosa warriors. The stories all had a moral, mostly depicting virtue and generosity. The Xhosa childrens' lives were shaped by custom, ritual, and taboo. Men followed the path of their fathers, women did so with their mothers.
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