Zenani Mandela, the daughter of the first democratic president of South African, Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was in a royal marriage with Prince Thumbumuzi of Swaziland for over two and a half decades. Despite coming from a family of chieftains, the diplomat had a very traumatic childhood as her father was incarcerated when she was three years old and served 27 years in prison. In the early stages of her life, Zenani Mandela was deprived of fatherly care and love, which she eventually found in the hands of Prince Thumbumuzi, and their long-term union produced four children.
With the marriage garnering so much admiration from people, many believed that it would be one of those forever unions, but unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. Sadly, the love between the two faded away, and the marriage collapsed in early 2000 when they decided to go their separate ways. Despite the separation, they are still supportive parents to their children, maintaining a strong bond with them.
Zenani Mandela Exchanged Vows With Prince Thumbumuzi At The Age of 14
While growing up, Zenani had fears that her mum would be taken away from her as Winnie Mandela almost welcomed her first child in prison in 1959. Some weeks after her release in early 1959, the famous activist gave birth to Princess Zenani. On multiple occasions in the apartheid government, Winnie was jailed for her activism. Having had a rough childhood as the family moved a lot following her mother’s banishment from some cities, Zenani later moved to Swaziland to complete her secondary education.
There, she got acquainted with Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini of Swaziland. He is the son of King Sobhuza II of Swaziland and Mbhono Shongwe. His younger brother is Mswati III, the reigning monarch of Swaziland. Later on, the Prince asked for Zenani Mandela’s hand in marriage, and the pair exchanged marital vows in 1973 when Zenani was 14 years old and her husband, 24. Nelson Mandela was in prison at the time and didn’t witness his daughter’s marriage but was informed of it.
With the help of their family friend, Robert Brown – a North Carolina businessman who got acquainted with the Mandela family when he escorted Coretta Scott King through South Africa in 1986, Zenani Mandela and her husband gained a full scholarship at Boston in 1987 and then moved to the United States with their children. She and her husband obtained Bachelor of Arts degrees from the university, as she studied Marketing and Prince Thumbumuzi studied Finance.
The Couple Separated After About 27 Years
Zenani Mandela’s royal marriage to the Prince of Swaziland gained public attention as it lasted for more than 25 years. However, the duo started having marital crises after Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first democratic president of South Africa in 1994. At the time, Zenani served as the stand-in First Lady of the country because of her parent’s divorce. Afterward, she was often seen in the company of her legendary father at state functions and was rarely seen together with her husband.
The Swazi Prince revealed in 2002 that his marriage to Zenani Mandela had hit the rocks since the year 2000 when the two got separated. He stated that he loved Zenani very much, and having married her in the traditional Swazi culture, she would continue to be his wife despite their marriage hitting rock bottom. While still alive, Nelson Mandela reportedly made efforts to get the former couple reconciled, but all his efforts were futile. At the moment, the two are separated locally and haven’t filed for a divorce in court.
Zenani, who became a Princess and took on the title of Her Royal Highness following her marriage to Prince Thumbumuzi, still retains her title and her husband’s surname. To date, these two are yet to reveal what caused the strain on their long-term marital relationship of almost three decades. While they were together, Zenani Mandela’s union with the Swazi Prince produced four children.
Meet Prince Thumbumuzi and Zenani Mandela’s Children
Before moving to the United States in 1987, Zenani Mandela and her ex-husband had welcomed three children. Their first child, a baby girl christened Zaziwe Dlamini, was born in 1977. The two further expanded their family with the arrival of their second daughter named Zamaswazi Dlamini two years later. Their sons, Zinhle and Zozuko Dlamini, were born in 1980 and 1992, respectively. Let’s look at Zenani Mandela’s children below
Before marrying Zenani Mandela, Prince Thumbumuzi had several children from his previous marriage, including Prince Cedza Dlamini. His first child with Princess Zenani, Zaziwe, was born in Mbabane, Swaziland, on June 16th, 1977. She works as a fashion designer and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Clark University, United States. She kicked off her career with a lecturing gig at Bennett College, Greensboro. Zaziwe later worked for Johannesburg-based Coca-Cola Company and as a living specialist for Seeds of Hope in Atlanta, United States. She also served as a counselor at Tara Hospital based in Johannesburg.
Zaziwe has been associated with their family company called Mandela, Dlamini, and Associates for some years now, serving as a board member. She is also one of the board members of Oxypite, a South African online gaming software supplier. In 2013, Zaziwe made appearances in Being Mandela, a reality TV series. She is married to David Manaway, and the two share a son named Ziyanda David Manaway.
Born in Welkom, South Africa, in 1979, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela is a serial entrepreneur, public speaker, and business developer. She is the founder of the luxury fashion line Swati by Roi Kaskara, which she launched in 2017. She graduated from the university with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing. Before plying her trade in the fashion and retail industry, she had a lengthy career in Public Relations. She managed the business strategy of Mango and Claire’s and equally managed the press office for House of Busby.
Over the years, she has provided management consulting services to companies, especially those in the transport and infrastructure industries. Along with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Zamaswazi co-authored “491 Days.” She was involved in the publishing of “The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela” and served as the co-producer of a documentary about her grandmother, Winnie Mandela. Additionally, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter is a founding partner at Qunu Workforce and a co-founder of the Long Walk of Freedom Brand.
Zinhle and Zozuko Dlamini
Unlike their sisters, Zenani Mandela’s sons, Zinhle and Zozuko, lead a private lifestyle. Thus, there is a trifle of information about them in the media. That being said, the diplomat’s first son is a medical doctor. He was born in 1980 and graduated from medical school at the University of Limpopo’s Medunsa campus, taking the Hippocratic Oath in December 2009. His graduation ceremony was attended by his parents, Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini and Princess Zelani Madela-Dlamini, and his maternal grandparents.
This shows that the former couple still spends time with their children and cherishes their family moments. Their last child, Zozuko Dlamini, was born in 1992. He keeps his personal life away from the spotlight. As such, he has set his Instagram handle on private.
The Diplomat is Currently Not in Any Relationship
Since separating from her husband, Zenani Mandela has not been involved in any romantic relationship or any romance rumor. She has mainly made the news headlines for her thriving professional life, which seems to have shrouded her love life. During the administration of Jacob Zuma, she was appointed as a South African ambassador to Argentina. She served in that capacity for five years before being appointed South Africa’s high commissioner to Mauritius by Cyril Ramaphosa. Since 2019, Princess Zenani has been serving as the South African ambassador to South Korea.