This day in history: Why a "lonely" Madiba divorced Winnie Mandela

This day in history: Why a "lonely" Madiba divorced Winnie Mandela

On 19 March 1996 former President Nelson Mandela’s 39-year marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ended.

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The first democratic head of state filed for divorce citing irretrievable breakdown as a reason for separation.

Mandela took the stand at the trial, which lasted a week and said, “If the entire universe persuaded me to reconcile with the defendant I would not ... I am determined to get rid of the marriage.”

Madiba continued by telling the court he felt nothing but "loneliness" during hi marriage with the "Mother of the Nation", as he used to call her.

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Mandela and Winnie got married in 1958, and had two daughters together. However, for 27 years of their marriage Madiba was imprisoned on Robbin Island.

Two years after his release, the late former president announced he would be divorcing Winnie. The announcement stunned South Africans.

They separated in 1992, just after Winnie was convicted for the kidnapping of four teens, one of which was beaten to death by her bodyguards.

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