Winnie and Nelson Mandela divorce

Nelson and Winnie Mandela Image source

Tuesday, 19 March 1996

After 38 years of marriage, Judge Eloff granted Nelson and Winnie Mandela a divorce.  Irreconcilable differences were cited as the reason for the parting. The Mandelas were married in 1958 and only spent a couple of years together before Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison as one of the Rivonia Trialists in 1963. It is believed that the lengthy separation that the couple experienced while Nelson Mandela was incarcerated contributed greatly to the eventual split. Two daughters, Zenani and Zindzi were born from their marriage. 

• Daily, S. (1996), South African Judge Gives Nelson Mandela a Divorce, from The New York Times, 20 March [online], Available at [Accessed: 08 March 2010]
• Block, R. (1996), Mandela: Winnie made me the loneliest man, from The Independent Online, 19 March, [online], Available at [Accessed: 08 March 2010]

Last updated : 18-Mar-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011