Mandelas Divorce

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: President Nelson Mandela was given a divorce today, ending a 38-year marriage which had survived his 27 year imprisonment. In granting the divorce, the court ruled that wife Winnie had failed to counter charges of adultery. On the first day of the divorce proceedings, the leader of the African National Congress told the packed courtroom that he had wished to resolve his marital problems in the privacy of their bedroom, "honorably and quietly, without washing our dirty linen in public." But Mandela said that since his release from prison, his wife had never even entered his bedroom while he was awake. Winnie Mandela had refused her husband's efforts to end their marriage amicably, insisting that they meet with tribal leaders in an attempt to reconcile. "She resisted because of she is who she is," says TIME's Peter Hawthorne. "Winnie Mandela does not give up on anything without a fight." Mandela said he could never reconcile with his wife after seeing a love letter she had written to her attorney in her 1991 kidnapping trial. When she was convicted in 1992, the Mandelas separated. Nelson told the court Monday that he was determined to end the marriage, and said there had be no intimacy in their marriage since he returned to live with his wife in 1990. "I was the loneliest man during the period I stayed with her." The marriage may have been troubled for decades. "Monday, Mandela suggested that he was having marital problems even before going to jail," says Hawthorne. After testifying, Mandela shook hands with his 60-year-old wife, who is reportedly seeking $5 million. A hearing to determine the divorce settlement is scheduled for Wednesday.