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Mandela - in the words of the women who knew him

Last update - Sunday, December 15, 2013, 18:26 By Metro Éireann

“It’s very silly when people say this kind of thing about Nelson. How can a man who has committed adultery and left his wife and children be Christ? The world worships Nelson too much. He is only a man.”

Evelyn Mase, Nelson Mandela’s first wife who died in 2004, reacting to the praise bestowed on him upon his release from prison in 1990

“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 bridesmaids would you like to have?' That’s how I was told I was getting married to him! It was not put arrogantly; it was just something that was taken for granted. I just asked: ‘What time?'”
Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s second wife

“In private he can allow himself to be a human being. He likes people to know he is happy. When he is unhappy he lets you know. He’s a very simple person, very gentle. He is down to earth. Even politically if you watch him sometimes you can feel there’s a bit of naivete.”
Graça Machel, Mandela’s third wife and widow of Samora Machel, the first president of independent Mozambique

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