Fatmawati | 3rd Wife of the first Indonesian President Soekarno


Fatmawati (5 February 1923 – 14 May 1980) wife of Indonesia’s first President Soekarno

Fatmawati is a woman from Minangkabau (Padang) who is recognized as a National Hero of Indonesia. She is Soekarno’s third wife and first lady after her husband’s proclamation of independence. She is also the mother of President Megawati Sukarnoputri. He made the first Indonesian flag to be flown.

Fatmawati Biography

Fatmawati was born on February 5, 1923 in Bengkulu to Hasan Din and Chadijah. One of his ancestors was a Minangkabau princess from the Inderapura Sultanate. When he met Soekarno, he was a teenager and he married a 53 year old woman named Inggit. Inggit and Soekarno divorced, he married Fatmawati.

In 1943 Fatmawati became Soekarno’s third wife. The following year, she gave birth to a son, Guntur Soekarnoputra. In 1945, Indonesia was proclaimed independent by Sukarno, the country’s first president, and she became the first lady. He built the first Indonesian flag to be flown.

He had four other children: Megawati Soekarnoputri (1947, who would become president in 2001), Rachmawati Sukarnoputri (1950), Sukmawati Soekarnoputri (1951) and Guruh Soekarnoputra (1953).

In 1953, Fatmawati separated from Soekarno, who took a new wife. They are not divorced but no longer live together.

He became an activist in the fight against tuberculosis in children. He founded the Ibu Soekarno Foundation and funded a hospital with government funding. Work was delayed, the hospital did not open until 1961 and was managed by the Minister of Health who did not make it a special place for illness.

Fatmawati died of a heart attack in Kuala Lumpur on May 14, 1980 while returning from Umrah in Mecca. He was buried at the Karet Bivou Cemetery in Jakarta.

Fatmawati Soekarno Airport in Bengkulu and the Fatmawati Central General Hospital he built in South Jakarta are named after him.

Sources: PinterPandai, VOI

Photo credit: Joop van Bilsen / Anefo (CC0), source: Edited version of Nationaal Archief via Wikimedia Commons


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