Durban – Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Friday that one of the insecurities she faced as a young woman in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal was how she would manage in marriage, particularly when being pressured to tie the knot by community members.
“I always have this feeling that marriage was a worry to me yet it was important to society, but I felt insecure about how I would manage in marriage. Maybe that’s why I eventually opted out. I never really managed to come to grips with marriage. If you like, it's one of my failures,” said Dlamini-Zuma while being interviewed at the Forbes Africa #LeadingWomenSummit at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban.
She was married to former president Jacob Zuma. The couple had four children before divorcing about 20 years ago. Dlamini-Zuma is currently minister in the presidency for planning, monitoring and evaluation and the former chairperson of the African Union Commission - the first woman to hold the position.
She continued: “At the end of the day you can only transfer to other people what you are passionate and convinced about. It’s important to have family, but also important to be free as an individual. If you aren’t free, you aren’t going to be able to transfer freedom to your kids.
“My father used to say: ‘You girls must go to school because I don’t want you staying in a toxic situation because of a plate of food. This helped me with situations when I needed to opt out. I encourage people to stay in a marriage if it is nice. Divorce is not ideal,” she said.