Born in Ambohimalaza, near Antananarivo, where his grandfather had been governor, Razafindratandra was educated at the parish school of Faravohitra. He went on to study at the minor seminary of Ambohipo and then at St. Michael's College, a Jesuit institution, before studying philosophy and theology at Ambatoroka.
Razafindratandra was ordained as a priest in 1954, after which he studied at the Catholic Institute in Paris for two years. Returning to Madagascar in 1956, he directed catechetical teaching and spiritual programs for public and private schools, working extensively with youth summer camp programs for children from needy families. He also rose to become Rector of the minor seminary at Faliarivo and the Director of the major seminary at Ambatoroka.
Appointed Bishop of Mahajanga in 1978 and named Archbishop of Antananarivo in 1994, Razafindratandra was proclaimed Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 26 November 1994, and became the Cardinal Priest of the Titulus Ss. Silvestri et Martini in Montibus.
From 1997 to 2002, he was president of the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar. Razafindratandra was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.