Nelson Mandela marries Winnie Madikizela
Mandela's second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also came from the Transkei area, although they, too, met in Johannesburg, where she was the city's first black social worker. They had two daughters, Zenani (Zeni), born 4 February 1958, and Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela-Hlongwane, born 1960. Zindzi was only 18 months old when her father was sent to Robben island. Later, Winnie would be deeply torn by family discord which mirrored the country's political strife; while her husband was serving a life sentence on the Robben Island prison, her father became the agriculture minister in the Transkei. The marriage ended in separation (April 1992) and divorce (March 1996), fuelled by political estrangement.
Mandela still languished in prison when his daughter Zenani was married to Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini in 1973, elder brother of King Mswati III of Swaziland. Although she had vivid memories of her father, from the age of four up until sixteen, South African authorities did not permit her to visit him. The Dlamini couple live and run a business in Boston. One of their sons, Prince Cedza Dlamini (born 1976), educated in the United States, has followed in his grandfather's footsteps as an international advocate for human rights and humanitarian aid.
Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane made history worldwide when she read out Mandela's speech refusing his conditional pardon in 1985. She is a businesswoman in South Africa with three children, the eldest of whom is a son, Zondwa Gadaffi Mandela.
Winnie Madikizela was born in the village of Mbongweni, Bizana, in the Transkei. She was the fourth of eight children. Her father, Columbus, was minister of the Transkei Governments’ Forestry and Agriculture Department during Kaizer Matanzima's rule. Her mother, Nomathamsanqa Mzaidume (Gertrude), a domestic science teacher, died when Winnie was only eight years old.
In the mid-1950s, she became involved in the African National Congress (ANC). In 1957, she met Nelson Mandela. At the time he was on trial, along with 155 other people, in the now infamous Treason Trial following the civil disobedience campaigns of the early 1950s. They were married on 19 June 1958 in a Methodist service in the Transkei, after which Winnie settled in Mandela’s home in Soweto.
By March 1961, the Treason Trial was over and the accused were found not guilty. By this time Winnie had given birth to 2 daughters, Zenani, born in 1959 and Zinzi, born in 1960. Between March and December of 1961, the Mandela’s enjoyed a normal family life, in the sense that they were all together. Throughout most of her married life, however, Winnie Mandela had to endure a forced separation from her husband. He was detained and imprisoned on more than one occasion and spent twenty-six years of his life on Robben Island. Although she had visitation rights during that period, she was unable to have physical contact with him.