Mandela's first marriage was to Evelyn Ntoko Mase who, like Mandela, was also from what later became the Transkei area of South Africa, although they actually met in Johannesburg. The couple broke up in 1957 after 13 years, divorcing under the multiple strains of his constant absences, devotion to revolutionary agitation, and the fact she was a Jehovah's Witness, a religion which requires political neutrality. Evelyn Mase died in 2004. The couple had two sons, Madiba Thembekile (Thembi) (1946-1969) and Makgatho Mandela (1950-2005) , and two daughters, both named Makaziwe (known as Maki; born 1947 and 1953). Their first daughter died aged nine months, and they named their second daughter in her honour. All their children were educated at the United World College of Waterford Kamhlaba. Thembi was killed in a car crash in 1969 at the age of twenty-five, while Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, and Mandela was not allowed to attend the funeral. Makgatho died of AIDS in 2005.
Evelyn Ntoko Mase b. 1922 d. 30 April 2004
Lineage Ntoko Mase
Full name (at birth) Evelyn Ntoko Mase
1922 birth, Transkei, South Africa
occupation, South Africa, Nurse
1944 marriage, South Africa, ♂ w Rolihlahla Mandela [Mandela] b. 18 July 1918
1946 child birth, ♂ Madiba Thembekile Mandela [Mandela] b. 1946 d. July 1969
1947 child birth, ♀ Makaziwe Mandela [Mandela] b. 1947
26 June 1950 child birth, ♂ w Makgatho Lewanika Mandela [Mandela] b. 26 June 1950 d. 6 January 2005
1953 child birth, ♀ w Makaziwe Mandela [Mandela] b. 1953
1957 divorce, ♂ w Rolihlahla Mandela [Mandela] b. 18 July 1918
30 April 2004 death, Johannesburg, South Africa
Evelyn Ntoko Mase: Evelyn was born in 1922 in Transkei, South Africa. Evelyn was a nursing student living in Johannesburg at the time of their marriage. Nelson and Evelyn were married on July 15, 1944 in a civil ceremony at the Native Commissioner's Court in Johannesburg. The marriage ended in 1957 due to irreconcilable differences. Evelyn remarried at the age of seventy-seven. She died in 2004 at the age of 82 from a respiratory illness. She was buried in Johannesburg. Nelson and Graca attended her funeral as well as Winnie.
"Evelyn Mandela gives her husband an ultimatum to choose between her or the ANC. She is also distressed about rumours that Mandela has relations with other women. In December, while Mandela is imprisoned for two weeks, she moves out of their home. He finds the house empty when he is released on bail." Source: "South African History Online. SAHistory.org.za. 06/1955.