Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2013 Contents Nelson Mandela had no short-
age of female admirers, given
his charm and impeccable dress
His biographer Anthony Sampson
once said he was a "ladies man and
proud of it".
He had three wives, who over
more than six decades proved invalu-
able partners to him at different
stages in his career, and have given
an insight into the private man.
Evelyn Mase: First wife
Nelson Mandela married Evelyn
Mase, a cousin of his political men-
tor Walter Sisulu, three years after
arriving in Johannesburg to avoid
an arranged marriage in the rural
region of Eastern Cape. He was 26
and she was 22.
"I think I loved him the first time
I saw him," she is quoted as saying
in Higher Than Hope, a biography
of Mandela that came out in 1990
when he was released from prison.
"Within days of our first meeting
we were going steady and within
months he proposed."
They were married for 13 years.
During much of that time, her
nurse s salary supported the family
while Mandela pursued his law
Together they had four children.
The death of their second child
aged nine months had a devastating
effect on Evelyn, who became more
religious, while Mandela became
She was a Jehovah s Witness with
no interest in politics.
I could not give up my life in
the struggle, and she could not live
with my devotion to something
other than herself and her family,
Mandela wrote in his autobiography
Long Walk to Freedom.
It was a bitter end to the mar-
riage, and Mandela returned home
on bail after his arrest on treason
charges to find she had moved out.
Five years after Mandela was sen-
tenced to life in prison in 1964,
their eldest son Thembekile died
in a car crash.
According to biographer Anthony
Sampson, he sent Evelyn, who was
then running a grocery store in a
village in what is now the Eastern
Cape, a message of condolence---
it was their only communication
while he was in prison.
When her former husband s
release from jail in 1990 was com-
pared to the second coming of
Christ, she told journalist Fred
Bridgland: "It s very silly when peo-
ple say this kind of thing about Nel-
"How can a man who has com-
mitted adultery and left his wife and
children be Christ? The world wor-
ships Nelson too much. He is only
But she later seemed to have
grown accustomed to the adulation.
In an interview just after the gen-
eral election which saw Mandela
elected as the country s first black
president, she said she had not seen
him since he had been released
from prison, but she knew "the
people love him very much".
"When I go to their houses to
talk to them about Jehovah, I always
see his picture on the walls. His
strength has come from God.
"God uses people to do his work
even if they are not righteous."
In 1998, more than 40 years after
separating from Mandela, Evelyn
married Simon Rakeepile, a fellow
Jehovah s Witness. She died in
Nelson Mandela s romance with
Winnie Madikizela blossomed dur-
ing his treason trial. She was a 22-
year-old social worker, 16 years
younger than him and she would
become a political firebrand.
"I was both courting her and
politicising her," Mandela said in
In her 1984 memoir Part of My
Soul Went with Him, she said that
Mandela never formally proposed.
"One day Nelson just pulled up
on the side of the road and said:
You know, there is a woman who
is a dressmaker, you must go and
see her, she is going to make your
wedding gown. How many brides-
maids would you like to have?
1945 - Thembi, died in a car crash in 1969
1947 - Makaziwe, died of meningitis before her first birthday
1950 - Makgatho, died of Aids in 2005
1954 - Makaziwe
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Italian classical singer Andrea Bocelli says
he might one day get to use the tools that
researchers around the world are developing
with support from the foundation that bears
Scientists and engineers working on high-
tech hardware and software to help people
with low or no vision make their way through
the world gathered at Massachusetts
Institute of Technology on Friday to share
some of what they're working on.
Technology on display included a
smartphone app that uses a camera,
accelerometer and compass to help a blind
person navigate an intersection, a computer
vision program that can read body language,
and retinal prostheses to replace damaged
photoreceptors. The daylong workshop was
organised by MIT and the Andrea Bocelli
Foundation, launched in 2011 to focus on
poverty, illiteracy and the disabled. Also on
Friday, the foundation hosted a second
workshop, in partnership with MIT's Abdul
Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, focused on
The topic of assistive technology for the
blind hits close to home for Bocelli, 55, who
was born with congenital glaucoma and lost
his sight completely after a childhood soccer
accident. Bocelli introduced the proceedings
and was on hand to listen to the futuristic
Bocelli hopes for science breakthrough
Nelson Mandela's first wife Evelyn was a Jehovah's Witness with no
interest in politics.
By the time Mandela was released from prison in 1990, he and Winnie had grown apart. On the day he walked free,
the couple put on a united front. AP PHOTO
The world worships
Nelson too much.
He is only a man.
The honest truth of God
is that I didn't know
him at all.
NELSON AND EVELYN MANDELA'S CHILDREN
1959 - Zenani - Now ambassador to Argentina
1960 - Zindzi
NELSON AND WINNIE MANDELA'S CHILDREN
Continues on Page B2
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