VIVAnews – 86 years ago today, on 5 February 1923, Fatmawati Soekarno, the third wife of the first president of Indonesia, Soekarno, was born.
Fatmawati was born in Bengkulu into a religious family. Her father, Hassan Din, was one of the most prominent figures of Muhammadiyah in the province.
In March 1938, Soekarno, who was already famous as the leader of the nationalist movement at the time, was exiled by the Dutch to Bengkulu. The house where Soekarno was held was not far away from Fatmawati’s house. Since the Dutch government allowed him to interact with the local people, Soekarno soon became acquainted with the local leaders, including Hassan Din, Fatmawati’s father.
Soekarno married Fatmawati on 1 June 1943. The couple had five children including Megawati, their first daughter, who later became the fifth president of Indonesia.
Fatmawati is famous in Indonesian history as the person who knit the Indonesian flag used during the proclamation of independence in 1945. She was known to her family and friends as a kind, cheerful and modest person. She was not ashamed of washing her family’s clothes in Kali Code (a river in Yogyakarta) when she and her family took refuge in Yogyakarta in 1949.
Fatmawati Soekarno died on 14 May 1980 in Kuala Lumpur and was buried at Karet Bivak Cemetary in Jakarta. To commemorate her struggle, a hospital in South Jakarta was named after her. Later, a street and an airport in Bengkulu were also named after her. In 2000, the Indonesian government made Fatmawati a national hero.