How tall is Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela's Height

6ft ¼ in (183.5 cm)

Former President of South Africa from 1994-99. On his 1990 passport his height is given as 1.83m.

Add a Comment96 comments

Average Guess (49 Votes)
5ft 11.83in (182.4cm)
Robby Harris said on 28/Nov/23
Mandela looks surprisingly tall next to Jesse Jackson in this photo:

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Quite odd as there should have been a few inches between the two!
CEO of #SixZeroMafia said on 28/Sep/23

I know it's been 6 years but most people were much shorter back then. And South Africa's current male average height is ~170cm. So a 183-184 guy would definitely tower most people there especially in the 40s. No idea where they got 6'4" from though.
Robby Harris said on 24/Sep/23
Nelson Mandela with 6'2" George H. W. Bush in 1990:

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Nelson Mandela with 5'11" George Bush in 2001:

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Nelson Mandela with 6'1.75" Bill Clinton in 2001:

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Mandela was clearly at least six feet following his release from prison. He could arguably pull off looking a bit over the mark with the Elder Bush, who himself may have been a little over 6'2" at the time. He probably lost a little more height by 2000, but could still look the full 6'0" with Bush and Clinton in some photos. His posture wasn't great and it's no wonder, given the harsh conditions he lived under during his imprisonment. His peak height (before incarceration) was almost certainly at least 6'0.5".
Robby Harris said on 21/Sep/23
Nelson Mandela with 6'2" George H. W. Bush in 1990:

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Nelson Mandela with 5'11" George Bush in 2001:

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Nelson Mandela with 6'1.75" Bill Clinton in 2001:

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Mandela was clearly at least six feet following his release from prison. He could arguably pull off looking a bit over the mark with the Elder Bush, who himself may have been a little over 6'2" at the time. He probably lost a little more height by 2000, but could still look the full 6'0" with Bush and Clinton in some photos. His posture wasn't great and it's no wonder, given the harsh conditions he lived under during his imprisonment. His peak height (before incarceration) was almost certainly at least 6'0.5".
5'10 Abdul said on 25/May/23
Griffith said on 4/Jan/23
Wow am shocked I thought he was like 5'7..😯.. Wow he's a 6footer

He wasn’t really 6’0 tall, he was more 5’11.5 to 5’11 3/4.
Griffith said on 4/Jan/23
Wow am shocked I thought he was like 5'7..😯.. Wow he's a 6footer
Abdul-177DK said on 3/Oct/22
182 cm peak.

177 cm Before death
Sinclair said on 11/Sep/22
Rob, can Mandela get 6'0.5" peak?
Robby Harris said on 17/Jul/22
Nelson with Sugar Ray Leonard:

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I'm unsure of the year this photo was taken, but it appears to be during his presidency.
Sinclair said on 9/Jun/22
Rob, if Mandela in his seventies still measured a solid six feet after twenty seven years in prison, doesn’t it indicate more 6’1” peak for him?

To me, Mandela even came across as close to 6’1” in the 1990s. 6’0.5” minimum peak, I’d say.
Mr L said on 2/Sep/21

Haha We meet again mate.

I've been reading about age-related height loss, and how poor nutrition and lifestyle can also affect height loss.

Mr Mandela experienced brutal conditions in Robben island, which likely had an effect on his height (and health).

Considering that he was roughly 6'0 in his 70's, it would suggest that he was probably taller as a younger man.

Of course it's a guess but considering the above, I'd imagine a 20 year old Mandela would fall into the 6'1- 6'2 range.

“ Height loss is related to aging changes in the bones, muscles, and joints. People typically lose almost one-half inch (about 1 centimeter) every 10 years after age 40."

Source: Click Here
Canson said on 30/Aug/21
Could’ve been 6’0.5” peak
Mr L said on 29/Aug/21
Yes, his 1990 passport was given as 6'0 at 72 years old.

However, it's likely that the harsh conditions; hard labour; and poor nutrition of Robben Island resulted in height loss for Mr Mandela.

The 6'4 billing that is often given for him does seem generous, but reading 'Long Walk To Freedom', Mr Mandela is often described as being noticeably taller than his peers.

Therefore, I estimate a peak Madiba to be in the 6'2 range.
Robby Harris said on 14/May/21
Nelson with 5'10" Mike Tyson and 5'9" Sugar Ray Leonard in 1990:
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He still appeared to be about 6'0" after his release from prison, so I think it's reasonable to assume he may have lost more height than suggested. He was 72 when released and held on to his height reasonably well throughout that decade.
Sinclair said on 22/Mar/21
Rob, how tall would you say Daniel Arap Moi was?

Arap Moi seemed a similar height range to Mandela, maybe Arap Moi was the taller man. Both men at their peaks may have been close to the 6’1” mark. It would not be surprising if Mandela had already lost half an inch by 1990.
Editor Rob
Look at Arap with Idi Amin who was a big guy, I think over 6ft is likely
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 20/Mar/21
This lovely, unselfish man didn't even give his full height!

6ft0.25. 🌞
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 27/Dec/20
Rob, surely he'd lost height by 1990?
Editor Rob
maybe not as much as you'd expect
Almost 180cm guy said on 16/Dec/20
It is a pity that Mandela was not very visible before 1990 because by then he was already 72 years old and he could potentially lose something. Personally, I give him 6ft 0.25 and believe that this figure fits him well. I found some interesting photos of Mandela next to George H W Bush from 1990: Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here
In these photos, Bush Senior could look well over 6ft 2 even though he was 66. I send too Mandela's photos next to George W Bush from 2001: Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here
Of course, Bush may have been 181 cm and at the age of 55 still not lose anything because Mandela by then seemed only slightly taller than him. Rob, looking at Mandela back in the 90's you might say he could have been at least 6ft 0.25?
Editor Rob
In Nelson's case, I think giving him a fraction over 6ft is fair enough...
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 18/Jul/20
The brave and heroic Nelson Mandela was born 102 years ago today. He achieved so much in his 95 years.

RIP Nelson XXX 🕯️ Where you'll be now, the sun will always be shining. 🌞

Nelson Mandela
18/7/1918 - 5/12/2013
Jam Cherry said on 17/Jun/20
183 cm in prime he was pretty tall
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 13/Apr/20
Looked 6ft range in his 70’s so over that in his 30’s is highly likely considering he was in prison for 25 years. 5ft11 is a joke
Davidjr said on 10/Apr/20
I think he is 183cm or 6foot because he was so tall for that time
Canson said on 15/Feb/20
Maybe his prime but later years he was lower. I can see 5’11 later in life
John Cook said on 12/Feb/20
I was lucky enough to meet him in 1993. I am 6'3" and he was a lot shorter, I'd say 5'11 is a good estimate.
Nearly 180cm guy said on 20/Jan/20
Please Rob, add him to the politicians category.
Miiiiiiighty_- said on 31/Oct/19
You can see prime Lomu's height had to be close to it's listing, imo no less than 194, when compared to Nelson's height when they shake hand in the final of RWC 95..
Jonah is absolutely towering Nelson.

Btw I think prime Nelson was more of a 185cm guy than 183.
Yang (5 footer 8, 172-173) said on 16/Jul/19
I would guess him as 5ft 11 Not so long before his death in 2013 as many human beings loose heights as they age.... 6 footer is good listing for his peak height around year 1989 that I was born.....
AkA. He was indeed one of healthiest men to live on this Earth for more than 90 years before his death. I know womens tend to live much longer than mens. Anyways, RIP Nelson Mandela...
Wine Berry said on 30/May/19
I would say 185 cm at his peak
Redwing said on 8/Feb/19
Was nelson Mandela 186 cm tall? How could he have underlisted himself??
Robby Harris said on 22/Dec/18
He looked at least 6' with 6'2" George Bush Sr. in 1990: Click Here Click Here and he still looked near this listing a decade later. I don't think he lost any significant height by 2005 either, as can be seen in some photos with 6'1.5" Will Smith: Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here I suppose it's arguable the difference was less than 2", perhaps 1.5" or so if he stood with better posture, but there's no way I could believe he was still 6' at the age of 87. His awful old man posture may have given the impression he lost more height than he did around that time. As far as his true pre-imprisonment peak height, I would bet on 6'1".
Mark Harrison said on 11/Sep/18
Mandela looked about six foot next to Terry Waite.
Patrick Kenny said on 27/Aug/18
He was approx 6ft 4. I am 6ft 1 or was when met him twice.
First at the Royal Hotel in 1991 where he met with Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
I was a barman and served refreshments to the function room and also rode in a lift with both of them. He was the tallest.
The second time was at an outdoor function in DurbanChatsworth in +- 1996. As the MC i stood next to him on stage.
He was still taller than me and had much bigger hands. And I'm no Trump;-)
My wife was the MC at the Africa Peace Accord held in Durban in 1997
She stood next him on stage and says he was definitely taller than me.
The 1990 passport that allegedly says he was 6ft was issued by an apartheid government and clearly didn't want him "the bigger man"
Also remember he had been in prison and forced to break rocks for many years.
All that stooping and age meant he didn't stand up straight.
berta said on 23/Jun/18
i think 184 maybe 185 at peak. he looked 182 range when he was about 75 years old.
Paul NS (6ft0.5) said on 2/Jan/18
5'11 is a joke. Almost certainly was above 6' at peak, although listing him at 6' is reasonable given that's how tall he was when he was in the limelight...

I'd say Mandela would qualify as very tall in context. At peak he would've been something like 7-8 inches taller than the average South African who was born around the time he was.
Harris said on 25/Nov/17
Mandela was 6 feet easy, at least after he was released from prison. 6'4" does sound a bit ridiculous for his peak, but its not impossible he was between 6'1"-6'2"...but its true we'll obviously never know.

Anyway, here he's with 6'2" Bill Clinton in 2001: Click Here Click Here and in 1994: Click Here Click Here

With 5'11" George W. Bush in 2001: Click Here Click Here and in 1990, with 6'2" Senior Bush: Click Here Click Here
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 22/Nov/17
I think 6ft1 is reasonable. Again I don't think we'll ever know how tall he actually was at his peak...
Tunman said on 20/Nov/17
Rob,if he was measured in 1990,aged 71 it's more than likely that he lost height by then.I'm not buying the 6'4 listings but something like 185 was very possible.Btw he looks nothing under 6'with legit 6'3 Pienaar(aged 77).
Editor Rob
you can make a case for 6ft 1 yes.
Slim 184 said on 3/Nov/17
I wonder who we could compare this guy to?
Slim said on 11/Sep/17
Just a strong 5'11" tbh.
Hans Meiser said on 24/Mar/17
6 foot is very, very tall for a South African born in 1918. The average height for males there today is 5'6.
Darryl178 said on 5/Mar/17
Rob how long do you believe he held 6ft? Is it possible he was over this mark before he was imprisoned?
Editor Rob
Darryl, of course there is a chance he was over six foot, I think he could in early 60's still look that range.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 19/Feb/17
He looked at least 6ft in the 90's
darryl178 said on 30/Jan/17
How long do you think he maintained the 6'0" mark, @Rob?
James said on 17/Dec/16
Mandela was six foot at his peak.
Roger said on 3/Dec/16
Rob, how tall do u think the guy beside Mandela is?Click Here
Editor Rob
he could be at least 6ft 1-1.5 range
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 18/Nov/16
I would say it's likely that he was substantially over this how much is the question though, 1,2,3 or even 4in?

we'll never know
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 18/Nov/16
Rob, just to clarify...he was 72 when he was released and 77 when he presented the RWC trophy to Francois Pienaar...and he still looked at least 6ft. So I think we should stop looking at photos from that era and go way back to before he was imprisoned. This is what I could find

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Click Here (2nd tallest guy in the back row)

If he was only 6ft or even 6ft1 when these photos were taken then all of those guys that he's standing with must have been significantly below average which I somehow doubt given how tall South Africans tend to be generally. I don't think we should just squash the claims of him standing anywhere from 6ft2 to 6ft4 as being just folklore....because it's just impossible to know for certain. With all the years he spent in prison, he probably didn't have the best it wouldn't shock me that he had lost a fair amount of height by 1990...just asking that you consider those notions
ArthurJohn said on 18/Nov/16
Telegraph mentioned Mandela was 6'4" (1.93 m) tall, and that directors couldn't find actors tall enough to play him in his documentary film!
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 1/Aug/16
I think its likely he lost 1in or more even by the time he was released from prison. I was shocked to read only 6ft for him. I had heard as high as 6ft4. Not so sure on that but looking at pictures of him in the 90's, he did look like a guy who had lost height
Tubbs said on 12/Jul/16
How about Mugabe? 5'8 region? I've no idea....
Editor Rob
5ft 7-8 range possibly, but then he would have shrunk more by now I'm sure...
zoj said on 23/Jun/16
seriously, The man was around Bill Clinton's height in the early 90's and he was in his late 70's in age, after having spent 27 years in prison cracking up rocks and other forms of hard labour and bad diet. You honestly think he wouldn’t have lost a fair bit of height after all of that?? My estimate is that he may have been 6'2"-6'3" in his younger days.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 10/Mar/15
Rob, how tall do you think Fidel Castro was peak?

I've seen 6ft3 out there
Editor Rob
might have been a tad optimistic
Mike said on 22/Dec/14
Might've been 6ft 1 in younger days.
Sam said on 18/Jul/14
Actually, Mandela looks similar but a smidge taller than Bill Clinton IMO...178 cm is ridiculous, 183 cm is lowest I go, but he seems a man of more than six feet even at times.
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Geo said on 14/Jul/14
I saw a photo with him next to Clinton who is 6'2". He looked about an inch or so shorter…probably 6"-6'1".
Guy said on 23/Jun/14
Mandela never was a 193 man or even a 188. I do think he could have been a solid 184 in his younger years, we just have to look photos of him with other presidents like fidel Castro for example who is 183-184, or his many photos with Michael Jackson.
MrTBlack said on 9/May/14
@everyone who said 6'4".

Nope never was and never will be. If he ever was that tall, he probably would have put it on his passport. He may have lost height as he aged but it wasn't 4" for sure.
french guy said on 12/Mar/14
black south africans are short so he may have looked very tall with them, that 's why many believe he is 193 cm because he looked as tall as a 193 cm look in western countries.
176,2Tunman said on 4/Feb/14
He definitely looked a legit 6'with 6'3 Pienaar but he was aged 77 at that time so lost a good amount of height.Question is how much his years at Robben Island affected his stature. His peak is certainly somewhere between 6'1 and 6'1.5. He needs a serious upgrade.
satchy said on 11/Jan/14
agree mr man around 6ft 4 peak
truth said on 31/Dec/13
come on now, 183cm peak and 180cm or 181cm before he died, how can a normal person loose anything 5cm or more? You people are crazy.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 21/Dec/13
He was actually 77 in 1995, so we can safely assume that he'd lost a fair bit of height by then.
Mathew said on 21/Dec/13
6'4" is crazy. 6'0" he was. Peak height, written on his passport.
Editor Rob
or 178cm which he had on his Ethiopian passport!
Arch Stanton said on 20/Dec/13
6'4" peak is pretty impossible Mr Man, see him next to solid 6'3" er Francois at the age of 72. 6'2" I'd say is the very most he could have been peak, more likely 6'1" range.
mr man said on 18/Dec/13
6'4" on the dot, probably 6'2" in the last decade or two
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 17/Dec/13
"Nelson Mandela height: 6ft 2in (188cm)"
Fern194cm-192cm said on 12/Dec/13
I have absolutely nothing against Nelson Mandela. R.I.P Nelson Mandela. I just don't think he was any taller than 6,0. I find it strange that they would only let Idris Elba play him because Idris is tall (around 6,3).
Rob can you consider adding adding strongman Brian Shaw? He is supposedly 6,8.
Hola said on 12/Dec/13

Thanks for believing that height is a measure for succes. Get lost.

Whether or not his accomplishments were exaggerated is for historians to say. What can be said is that he was on several terror-lists back in the day, so the people who think he fought passively need a wake-up call. Disclaimer: I'm not saying he did anything wrong, he was a great man.
5ft10guy said on 12/Dec/13
strange I saw somewhere else he was 6ft2.I really thought he was 6ft2 before this listing
Bosnia said on 11/Dec/13
Fern194cm-192cm says on 10/Dec/13 He was never 6,4 or 6,3 or 6,2 or 6,1. He was 6,0 peak as ROb has him. By the time he died maybe 5,10. His height was exaggerated just like his accomplishments.

Exaggerated? 27 years was exaggerated? Rob should put him on 6'7" based on his accomplishments.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 11/Dec/13
@Fern194cm-192cm: that's a profoundly stupid thing to say. I bet you were pro-apartheid.

Francois Pienaar is a strong 6ft3 guy. Had 5-6in on Matt Damon. Mandela was 77 when that happened, Jake. I would say at least 6ft1.5/187cm for a young Madiba.
Fern194cm-192cm said on 10/Dec/13
He was never 6,4 or 6,3 or 6,2 or 6,1. He was 6,0 peak as ROb has him. By the time he died maybe 5,10. His height was exaggerated just like his accomplishments.
jordydecke said on 8/Dec/13
so how come there were so many rumours that he was 6'4? A four inch difference is pretty vast, maybe nearer 6'1/6'2 peak?
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 8/Dec/13
188-189cm in his prime
Mathew said on 8/Dec/13
Blaze says on 7/Dec/13
He was 6'4 in his peak


Not a chance.
Mr. R said on 8/Dec/13
I think that he was close to 6-2 in his prime.
Blaze said on 7/Dec/13
He was 6'4 in his peak
Mathew said on 7/Dec/13
Listed at 6'4" in some places, but was really 6'0". And did a lot of great things.
MrTBlack said on 7/Dec/13
Looking at that pic, I'd say he was 5'11" there but 6' when he was younger.
Arch Stanton said on 7/Dec/13
You can see in the Francois Pinoir picture he was never 6'3-6'4", but he could certainly have been 6'1"-6'2" peak...
Sharpshooter said on 7/Dec/13
Rob - Small correction in 1990 he would have been in his early 70s (which makes his story more remarkable!).

Given he spent much of those years in hard labour working in a quary, its not inconceivable he lost height through the ages of 45 to 71 (his ages he was in prison). I think if you are going to justify this listing you are going to have to look at his height while he was in prison or before it. I'm not sure its completely accurate to base Mandela's height after he was released when he was 71. I agree with others I think a peak height might be called for. I can't believe the height he was when he was president was the same as when he was in say 50 in 1968!

Amazing man though. RIP.
truth said on 7/Dec/13
yeah I always thought around 6ft maybe 182cm better fit. 6ft1+ is insane.
jtm said on 7/Dec/13
RIP. you will be missed
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 7/Dec/13
Francois Pienaar is a tall guy. I estimate gim to be 6ft3-6ft4. He's been listed at both of those and looks in that range next to Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman.

Mandela's height is a mystery. As a young man I reckon about 6ft2. He was 72 in 1990.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 7/Dec/13
Just 6ft?

I thought he was 6ft3-6ft4
Arch Stanton said on 7/Dec/13
Rob don't you think his peak height is disputable. I mean in 1990 he's have been nearly 80 and 82 I think when that photo was taken. It is possible he was measured 183cm in 1990 at the time of the passport. Clint Eastwood's 83 and look at him... Given the average of 1 inch loss after 60 do you think 6 ft 2 peak was possible?
Editor Rob
in 90 he'd be early 60's, so it's not impossible to have been about same height or not lost much.
Arch Stanton said on 7/Dec/13
6'4" LOL. Click Here Francois is a solid 6'3 guy, 191-2. Mandela was in his 80s when that was taken and does look around 6 ft in comparison. Peak I could buy 6'1-6'2" but 6'4" is taking the biscuit.
Anshelm said on 7/Dec/13
With Bill Clinton in 1994 Click Here
With George Bush (the elder) on June 25, 1990 Click Here
With George W. Bush (no date given) Click Here
Paul said on 7/Dec/13
R.I.P. Truly one of the greatest figures of the past century.
MrTBlack said on 7/Dec/13
No. The absolute most he was was 6'0 1/2". The most one can be is a half an inch higher than their claim.
jordydecke said on 6/Dec/13
rip nelson mandela. on the matter of height I've seen a lot of sources say that he was 6'4 (at peak) have a look at this article...

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what do you think?
the shredder said on 6/Dec/13
I thought he was like 6'3. Great man rip.
Arch Stantion said on 6/Dec/13
RIP Great One. Agree on 6 ft peak, he was 95 when he died so obviously even by the 90s could have already lost 2 inches.
Clay said on 6/Dec/13
Rest is heaven Madiba i will always love and remeber you with my all heart to forever...
SAK said on 6/Dec/13
Many that met Mandela said he was taller then they expected.
MD said on 6/Dec/13
Wow, I thought he was much taller for some reason. Probably just how he carried himself.

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