What Was Nelson's Mandela's Religion?

Nelson Mandela was raised as a Christian and is thought to have been a Methodist. He became the first black South African president on May 10, 1994, and served until June 14, 1999. Mandela served 27 years of a life sentence for his campaigns against apartheid.

Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, in Mvezo. He belonged to the Madiba clan. When Mandela began school, he was given the name Nelson based on the custom to give all children names considered "Christian." While it is believed Mandela belonged to the Methodist church, many members of his family are Jehovah's Witnesses. Another confounding factor was that Nelson Mandela was known for speaking little about his faith except through the lens of unification in his home country of South Africa. However, interviews conducted with his family members show that he was a Methodist.

After leaving the presidency, Mandela focused on charity work and founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation. He died at the age of 95 on December 5, 2013.