Nelson Mandela’s son, Thembekile is killed in a car accident


Nelson and his son Thembekile.

Sunday, 13 July 1969

Thembekile “Thembi” Mandela, the eldest son of Nelson Mandela and Evelyn Mase was killed in a car accident while his father was serving life sentence on Robben Island. Mandela, who always played a brother figure for many of his inmates was filled with anguish at not being allowed by the authorities to attend Thembi’s funeral or to have access to details about the fatal crash. Thembi died when three cars collided on the fog-bound Touws River road, leaving four people dead and another four injured.

• Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, (2012), ‘Honouring Thembekile Mandela’, 22 February, [online], available at 31 May 2012)
• Times Live, (2012), ‘Mandela gets closure on 1969 death of eldest son’, 22 February, [online], available at 31 May 2012)

Last updated : 12-Jul-2013

This article was produced by South African History Online on 05-Jul-2012