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Mandela: I Was Pressured To Marry

August 11, 1998

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) _ Nelson Mandela says he tied the knot with Graca Machel under ``unbearable″ pressure from friends.

The South African president’s relationship with Ms. Machel was out in the open for two years before their surprise wedding July 18. Members of the clergy complained the couple set a bad example by not getting married.

``Even in Parliament in my country, deputies told me I should get married,″ Mandela said Monday. ``The pressure became unbearable.″

Ms. Machel delayed marriage because she didn’t want to give up her work and her status in her native Mozambique as the widow of another president. She continues to live here.

Mandela said they kept the wedding secret because they wouldn’t have known which of the ``numerous friends″ who have helped South Africa should be invited, and to avoid clogging the streets with traffic.

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