The anti-apartheid crusader, a global icon for peace and freedom, was given the award on Sunday night for his outstanding leadership for human rights and development.
His wife, Graca Machel, also received a Humanitarian Achievement Recognition award for her tireless advocacy for education, children's welfare and culture.
Mandela and Machel have both contributed greatly to development and human rights across Africa and the whole world.
Their most recent initiative, the Legacy of Hope, was formed to fund the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Johannesburg and would bring free healthcare to children in South Africa.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Baldwin Spencer presented the awards to their daughters, Zindzi Mandela and Josina Machel, who attended the ceremony on their behalf.
Mandela, 95, was admitted to a hospital June 8 for a recurring lung infection and was discharged Sep 1.
Mandela and his wife receive awards for their contribution to human rights
The Global Governance Leadership Awards are presented to individuals who have made distinctive contributions to sustainable development, the youth, e-governance, and information and communications technology.
The South-South Awards, now in its third year, recognise exceptional contributions made to the implementation of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development all over the world on the part of the heads of state and government, as well as executives from the private sector and civil society.