While Nelson Mandela led a nation against apartheid and served as one of the worlds leading heroes, we have to ask who were the family who stood with him, suffered with him and perhaps understand him better than any?
Nelson Mandela’s father died when he was nine years old. From that time on he was raised by Jongintaba, until he escaped from an arranged marriage he wanted no part of.
From the time Mandela began his fight against and apartheid and the fight for equality, it would be apparent that a Nelson Mandela wife would need to be a strong and brave person in herself. Mandela has had three wives in his life, marrying the last on his 80th birthday.
Mandela has always been a strong supporter of children and education. The Nelson Mandela Childrens fund is just another of this man’s achievements. Nelson Mandela is the father of 6 children himself. He fathered four children from his first marriage to Evelyn Mase and 2 children with his second wife Winnie Madikizela.
Nelson Mandela kids had to be something a bit special, and some of them never really got to see their father at all as he was in prison for most of their lives. Both of Mandela’s daughters from his first marriage were named Makazawie. The eldest died at nine months and the next Makazawie was named in her honor. Madiba Thembikile (Thembi) was killed in a car crash when he was 25 (1969) Nelson Mandela was in prison at the time and was not permitted to attend his child’s funeral. Makgatho died of AIDS in 2005. Nelson Mandela has been active in his expressing his views on HIV and AIDS and the 46664 AIDS campaign is named after his prison number.
Nelson and Evelyn were married for 13 years, splitting up in 1957. Evelyn was a Jehovah’s Witness and so had to remain politically neutral. She died in 2004.
In 1958 Nelson married Winnie Madikizela. While much of their marriage was spent apart as Nelson was in prison, Winnie Mandela became a strong political figure herself. Mandela and Winnie have 2 girls Zenani (Zeni) –born in 1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) – born in 1960. Zeni married Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini. Zindzi made history when reading out Nelson Mandela’s address refusing political pardon (1985).
Due to both political and personal strain, nelson and Winnie Mandela eventually divorced in 1994. In 1988, on his 80th birthday Nelson married his third wife, Graca Machel (she was the widow of the former Mozambican president).
Nelson Mandela currently lives in a house at Qunu. While he does have several houses around the world Nelson Mandela’s place is in his birth region of Transkei.