Womenz Magazine

Nelson Mandela and the Women He Loved

President Nelson Mandela

Mandela Married NurseEvelyn Mase: Mandela married the South African nurse in 1944. Although the couple had four children, the husband and wife grew distant, in part because of Mandela’s involvement with anti-apartheid group, the African National Congress (ANC). According to a story published in The Guardian, one day Mase returned from a trip to Durban, South Africa, and found her husband’s secretary in their Johannesburg home. Mase reportedly threatened to throw boiling water on the woman, who fled, but the affair continued. Eventually, the couple’s marriage crumbled when Mase demanded that Mandela choose between her and the ANC. In 1958, she moved out and took their children with her. She died in 2004 at age 81.Mandela Wife Winnie Mandela: The same year Mandela and Mase divorced, he wed Winnie Madikizela, with whom he had two daughters, Zenani and Zindzi. However, Mandela was imprisoned frequently for anti-apartheid activities and in 1964 he was sentenced to life in prison, while Winnie continued his political efforts, repeatedly landing in prison herself. After Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and was elected President of South Africa in 1994, years of separation had fractured the couple’s bond. In divorce court, Mandela described himself as “the loneliest man” after returning home to Winnie who reportedly was having an affair with a younger man. The couple divorced in 1996 after 38 years of marriage.Mandela Married LadyGraca Machel: Two years later, on his 80th birthday, Mandela married former first lady of Mozambique, Graca Machel, despite the South African community initially rejecting the union because her nationality. Machel, who has a law degree and speaks three languages, managed to stay out of family disputes and led a more independent life than Mandela’s previous wives, even keeping her former husband’s name throughout her marriage to Mandela.Mandela Daughters Daughters Makaziwe Mandela,  Zenani Mandela and Zindziswa Mandela: These women continuously promoted their father’s lifetime achievements, attending humanitarian events in his honor. Sadly, Zindziswa learned of Mandela’s death on Thursday at the opening of a new film about him.supermodel Naomi CampbellNaomi Campbell: Mandela dubbed supermodel Naomi Campbell (pictured with Mandela’s step-daughter Josina, far left, and daughter Zindzi, second from right) his “honorary granddaughter” after taking her under his wing. In 2010, the British beauty credited Mandela for helping her rein in her anger through his counsel and by teaming up for charity events together. ‘I don’t know why he reached out to me or what he sees in me. Every time I’ve made a mistake, he’s told me to keep my head up and keep going. Sometimes it’s hard because I feel so much shame. But a lot of it, I do for him,” she told the Daily Mail.Mandela's FamilyZindzi and Zenani Mandela: Mandela’s daughters with ex-wife Winnie happily posed with both of their parents on Mandela’s 94th birthday in Qunu, South Africa.Swati Dlamini, Zaziwe Dlamini Manaway, and Dorothy Adjoa AmuahSwati Dlamini, Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, and Dorothy Adjoa Amuah: Mandela’s three granddaughters hit the airwaves in “Being Mandela,” a reality show on the NBC-affiliated Cozi TV, which premiered earlier this year. The plot revealed their lives as businesswomen, mothers, and of course, granddaughters to their famous grandfather. “We’re definitely not the African Kardashians,” Dorothy Adjoa Amuah said at a press conference in 2011. The women also had the full support of Mandela, telling “Access Hollywood,” “Our grandfather is iconic so its up to us to carry on that legacy….It’s an honor to come from such greatness.”


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