The other Nelson Mandela house.

The other Nelson Mandela House, many locals believe it, many don’t agree, why don’t you visit and do your one research.

According to Mike and Ema, Nelson Mandela first lived with his cousin, also of the Madiba clan, in Crown Mines, where cousin Robert Mosongulu Mugudlwa was a clerk.

The two cousins married two sisters, from the Engcobo area, their heritage the amaQwathi clan, Nelson Mandela marred Evelyn, her sister Kate, mother to Ema, married Robert Mosongulu Mugudlwa, and close to this heritage, was the brother Sam Mase, who first lived in 5818.

Sam, a devout Christian, had a close friendship with his cousin, Walter Sisulu, with whom he went to school.

In 1928, Sisulu moved to Johannesburg, later to be joined there by Sam, who soon became politicised, and encouraged Sisulu to read left-wing literature and join the ANC.

In 1939, Evelyn joined her brother and cousin, to train as a nurse in the city’s non-European hospital at Hillbrow, fulfilling the wishes of her late mother.

There, she befriended Walter’s girlfriend Albertina, whom he had met in 1941, and whom he would marry in 1944.

The archives will tell conflicting stories about religion and politics, and how these two issues allegedly caused Evelyn to split from Nelson Mandela, yet, still remaining very much part of the Sisulu family.

Following the divorce, ‘who divorced who’ I am never sure, Sam Mase relocated to Engcobo, and his home, 5818, was available to his sister Evelyn and her children to continue with their lives.

Nelson Mandela was often seen visiting the children, and maybe why he has been linked to this house.

Please visit and allow your own understanding to be challenged.

Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela marriage celebrations

Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela marriage celebrations take place in the home of Chief Jonginthaba in 1958.

The following is an extract quoted from page 39 of the Passport to Soweto, if the comment wakes an interest in visiting the home where the wedding celebration took place, please buy ‘Passport to Soweto’ and enjoy the visit:

Chief Jonginthaba Mdingi, and Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, as a young man, lived under the guardianship of Chief David Jonginthaba, and his heritage is well documented about him, and his cousin Justice, the son of Chief Jonginthaba, running away from arranged marriages by the Chief.

When Mbube Mdingi, the eldest son of the Tshawe Mdingi Chief Jonginthaba, first introduced me to this property in 2005, he explained to me that Chief Jonginthaba Mdingi, in relation to Nelson Mandela, was the traditional senior, being from the Royal House, when Nelson Mandela married Winnie in 1958, they had a wedding day lunch reception, at this, his elders home.

Venue for Nelson and Winnie wedding celebrations
Venue for Nelson and Winnie wedding celebrations

I will spend many hours talking to the families, as I try and link the Thembu Chief Jonginthaba, the guardian of Nelson Mandela, with the Chief Jonginthaba, a descendant of Chief Hintsa, of the Gcaleka. My western mind has an issue.

What I need to get my mind around, is my confusion of clan names, when a Chief or elder, is known by his ‘praise name’. Jonginthaba, in the Chief Mdingi position, is his ‘praise name’, and his clan name is Tshawe, this clan represents the ruling house among the Xhosa, including Chief Hintsa and his descendants.

Rohilhlahala Nleson Mandela, of the Madiba clan, was given his praise name, Dalibungha, ‘Founder of the Bungha’, ‘the Traditional ruling House of the Transkei’.

Elders and Traditionalists attach greater respect and importance to this name, and when greeting or celebrating him, used the praise name, ‘Aaah Dalibungha’, and when the use of this praise name takes place, all participants in the event, will stand and call out the praise name, ‘Aaah Dalibungha’.

Believe it or not, Mbube gave me letters written to him by Nelson Mandela while they were on Robben Island.

Passport to Soweto Letter from Mandela to Mbube Mdingi
Letter from Mandela to Mbube Mdingi
Passport to Soweto Letter from Mandela to Mbube Mdingi
Letter from Nelson Mandela to Mbube Mdingi


You will find this interaction, as exciting as I do, and the father, Bosman, is fluent in Afrikaans, more so than me.