Nelson Mandela

On 18th July 2018 a memorial stone for Nelson Mandela was unveiled in the nave of Westminster Abbey, just in front of the altar there. The letter cutter was Nick Sloan and the inscription in the centre of the stone reads:

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

In a circle around this are the words

Forgiveness Reconciliation

Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Mvezo, Transkei on 18th July 1918. His school teacher gave him the Christian name Nelson. In 1944 he joined the African National Congress and helped form the Youth League. In the same year he married his first wife Evelyn Mase and had four children. In 1952, with Oliver Tambo, he started the first black law firm. His second wife was Winnie and they had two daughters. He was acquitted in the 1952 Treason Trial but in 1962 he was convicted of leaving the country illegally and inciting workers to strike. In 1964 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage, being released in 1990. In 1993, with President F.W. de Klerk, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1994 became the first democratically elected President of South Africa. He served until 1999. His third wife was Graca Machel. He established the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. He died in Johannesburg on 5th December 2013.

He had visited the Abbey in 1996 and wrote in the Distinguished Visitors Book "Visiting the Abbey was an unforgettable experience". His memorial service was held on 3rd March 2014 at which Archbishop Desmond Tutu preached.

A statue of him stands in Parliament Square, London.

Further reading

Order of Service for The Dedication of a Memorial Stone to Nelson Mandela (PDF, 477KB)



18th July 1918


5th December 2013


18th July 2018


Statesman; lawyer



Memorial Type


Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela visits his former cell at Robben Island Prison
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela's inscription in Westminster Abbey's Distinguished Visitors Book, 1996

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster