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Quotes About Nelson Mandela's Marriages


Graca: “Both of us went through very painful experiences. We met each other. We enjoy this relationship with such fulfillment and such plenitude. . . . It’s so sweet and so complete and so natural. We don’t take it for granted. We know what it is to be without. We say to each other, at last we are very lucky people because we could have ended up without being able to share this experience.”
Source: Krissah Thompson. "Graca Machel, A First Lady Twice Over: The Woman by Nelson Mandela's Side." WashingtonPost.com. 7/05/2013.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “She has not only brought joy to Madiba, she has also tried very hard to draw the Mandela family together."
Source: Krissah Thompson. "Graca Machel, A First Lady Twice Over: The Woman by Nelson Mandela's Side." WashingtonPost.com. 7/05/2013.

Graca in a radio interview: "It's just wonderful that finally we have found each other and can share a life together."
Anthony Sampson. Mandela: The Authorized Biography. 2000. pg. 540.

Graca about her relationship with Nelson: “We were both very, very lonely. We both wanted someone you could talk to; someone who’d understand ... It just happened; I can’t explain it. I’m very close to my children so I couldn’t hide it from them. I said, ‘I feel good about seeing Madiba but there’s no question of marriage.’ But it came to the point where for Madiba [Nelson] the only thing that was missing was marriage. When I told my children, they couldn’t believe it. I’d sworn I wouldn’t get married again, but he surprised me. It took a very special person to make me change my mind.”
Source: Ann McFerran. "Interview: Graca Machel." TimesOnLine.co.uk. 9/2/2007.

Nelson about Graca, 2/1998: "I'm in love with a remarkable lady. I don't regret the reverses and setbacks because late in my life I am blooming like a flower, because of the love and support she has given me."
Source: Anthony Sampson. Mandela: The Authorized Biography. 2000. pg. 541.

Jessie Duarte about Nelson and Graca: "I don't know if you have ever seen them together, but there is no one else around in the same room as the two of them when they're together, and I think that's good."
Source: Jessie Duarte. "Interview Excerpt." PBS.org.

Nelson Mandela during his announcement of his separation from Winnie, April 1992: "I part from my wife with no recriminations. I embrace her with all the love and affection I have nursed for her inside and outside of prison from the moment I first met her."
Source: "Husband & Lover." PBS.org.

Richard Stengel about Nelson's regrets: "He has regrets what happened to his first marriage, his children by his first marriage, his very frosty relations with those kids. I think he has regrets ... so many regrets with what happened with Winnie, for all kinds of reasons."
Source: Richard Stengel. "Interview Excerpt." PBS.org.

Nelson about his marriage to Evelyn: "Even before the trial, my marriage to Evelyn had begun to unravel ... A man and a woman who hold such different views of their respective roles in life cannot remain close ... in 1955, she gave me an ultimatum: I had to choose between her and the ANC ... But when I came out of prison, I found that she had moved out and taken the children ... Evelyn and I had irreconcilable differences. I could not give up my life in the struggle, and she could not live with my devotion to something other than herself and the family. She was a very good woman, charming, strong, and faithful, and a fine mother. I never lost my respect and admiration for her, but in the end, we could not make our marriage work."
Source: Nelson Mandela. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Paperback edition 1995. pgs. 205-208.

Nelson: "It was in the lounge of the Sisulus' home that i met Evelyn Mase, my first wife. She was a quiet, pretty girl from the countryside ... I asked Evelyn out very soon after our first meeting. Almost as quickly, we fell in love. Within a few months I had asked to her marry me and she accepted."
Source: Nelson Mandela. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Paperback edition 1995. pg. 101.

Jesse Duarte about Nelson and Winnie: "When he speaks about why the separation took place, it was in the context that he recognized that they had grown apart, to such as extent as individuals, that living together was just impossible ... I think that it was going to be very difficult for them to continue a relationship that hadn't been there for 27 years. He had very fond memories of their early marriage together ... one does get the sense that Madiba and Winnie were friends when they married each other, there was a great deal of loyalty and love. That continued through his incarceration. Because she did visit him. She was his only reference point physically with the rest of the world for a long time. But I think when they finally lived together again, there was just too much of a difference between them."
Source: Jessie Duarte. "Interview Excerpt."PBS.org.

"Mandela never formally proposed to Winnie. Once he had filed for divorce [from Evelyn], he told her where she could get a wedding dress made and suggested she inform her family of their intentions."
Source: Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton. Mandela: The Authorized Portrait. 2006. pg. 81.

Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel Marriage Profile

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