Nelson Mandela – a celebration of an icon’s life

Mandela’s love story

Monday 12 December 2016 16:44


Evelyn Mase was the first wife of Mandela.

Evelyn Mase was the first wife of Nelson Mandela. Mase was a South African nurse. She married to Madiba from 1944 to 1958.

Mase was born in Engcobo, in the former Transkei, now Eastern Cape. The pair met in the lounge of the late Walter and Albertina Sisulu in Soweto.  Mandela and Mase had three children Thembi, Makgatho and Makaziwe.

Mandela’s second wife was the courageous Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela, who stayed with Mandela in Orlando, Soweto.
She arrived in Johannesburg to study to be a social worker, doing her training at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Winnie met Mandela in 1957.

The two love birds married in the Transkei on 14 June 1958 and later divorced after former statesman was released from Robben Island. They had two daughters, Zenani and Zindzi.  

After his divorce with Winnie, Madiba married his third wife, Graca Machel, who was married to the late Mozambican President Samora Machel.

Machel had always been on Madiba’s bedside during his illness at Pretoria Heart Hospital before he died on Thursday.

Additional images by Reuters and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

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