Zenani Mandela-Dlamini

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Zenani Mandela-Dlamini
Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini
Ambassador of South Africa to South Korea
Assumed office
October 2019
PresidentCyril Ramaphosa
High Commissioner of South Africa to Mauritius
In office
May 2017 – October 2019
PresidentCyril Ramaphosa
Ambassador of South Africa to Argentina
In office
October 2012 – May 2017
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded byTony Leon
Succeeded byVacant
First Lady of South Africa
In office
10 May 1994 – 18 July 1998
Serving with Zindzi Mandela
PresidentNelson Mandela
Preceded byMarike de Klerk
Succeeded byGraça Machel
Personal details
Zenani Mandela

(1959-02-04) 4 February 1959 (age 64)
Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini
(m. 1977; sep. 1990)
Parent(s)Nelson Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
RelativesZindzi Mandela-Hlongwane (sister)
Thembekile Mandela (half-brother)
Makgatho Mandela (half-brother)
Makaziwe Mandela (half-sister)
Prince Cedza Dlamini (step-son)
Zoleka Mandela (niece)

Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini (born 5 February 1959) is a South African diplomat and traditional aristocrat. She is the sister-in-law of the King of eSwatini, Mswati III, and the daughter of Nelson Mandela and his former wife, Winnie Mandela.

Early life[edit]

Zenani Mandela was born into a family of chieftains. Her father, Nelson, was a direct descendant of the holders of the kingship of the Thembu people and was himself the heir to the chieftaincy of Mvezo. His grandson, Zenani's nephew Mandla, eventually succeeded to the latter title.

She was nearly born in prison, as Winnie Mandela was arrested close to her birth in 1959,[1] and when she was four her father was sent to prison, where he would stay for the next 27 years. Not until 1974, when she was 15 years old and could visit him.[2]


Mandela-Dlamini studied at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa and science at Boston University.[3] It was there that she first met Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini of Swaziland (an elder brother of the reigning monarch of Swaziland, Mswati III and of Queen Mantfombi of the Zulus),[4][5] who was studying science at the same university. The two married in 1973 and had four children – daughters Zaziwe (1977) and Zamaswazi (1979) and sons Zinhle (1980) and Zozuko (1992) – and six grandchildren,[6] but are currently separated.[7] Her husband had several other children from a previous marriage, Prince Cedza Dlamini being one of them. They are co-owners of Mandela, Dlamini and Associates (International Business Consultants).[8]

Later activity[edit]

Mandela-Dlamini was appointed ambassador for South Africa to Argentina in July 2012, (taking office in October), becoming the first of Mandela's children to enter public service;[9][10] she succeeded retiring diplomat and former opposition leader Tony Leon. She served in this position until May 2017, when she was appointed South African high commissioner to Mauritius. Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini was appointed as the South African Ambassador to South Korea in October 2019.

After Mandela was elected president and his divorce to Winnie, Zenani was chosen to accompany her father to his inauguration and become the stand-in First Lady of South Africa until her father remarried on his 80th birthday to former Mozambique first lady Graça Machel.[11]


  1. ^ Smith, David, "Nelson Mandela's daughters emerge from his shadow to forge careers", The Guardian, 7 July 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  2. ^ Williams, Juan (8 November 1987). "'Daddy Stayed in Jail. That Was His Job'; Zenani Mandela's Life Without Father". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  3. ^ Smith, David (29 April 2013). "Southern Africa's first multiracial school celebrates 50 triumphant years". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Swaziland prince and princess attend Boston University". The Ten O'Clock News. WGBH Boston. 13 May 1987. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  5. ^ Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume II. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd. 1980. pp. 217–218, 271, 320. ISBN 0-85011-029-7.
  6. ^ "Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela". South African History Online.
  7. ^ Forde, Fiona. "Mandela set for diplomatic posting to Argentina". The Sunday Independent. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Genealogy – Nelson Mandela Foundation". www.nelsonmandela.org. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Mandela daughter Zenani appointed Argentina ambassador". BBC News. 4 July 2012. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  10. ^ Laing, Aislinn, "Nelson Mandela's daughter appointed South Africa ambassador to Argentina", The Telegraph, 4 July 2012.
  11. ^ Mandela, Nelson (1994). Long walk to freedom: the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston. ISBN 0-316-54585-6. OCLC 31530423.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

External links[edit]

Media related to Zenani Mandela-Dlamini at Wikimedia Commons