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Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in the remote village of Mvezo in the southeast of South Africa. The son of a Tembu chief, he was named Rolihlahla, meaning “troublemaker,” until his first day at school. His teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the name Nelson to conform to British ways. Mandela was drawn to politics in his teens while listening to elders talk about the freedom they had before white rule.