The long-awaited memoir of Nelson Mandela by Zelda La Grange will be released this week and revealing the family drama could lead to legal action. La Grange, the trusted assistant to Mandela for nineteen years, will release the book exposing the Mandela family drama and the days leading up to his death.
Makaziwe Mandela, daughter of the former statesman, warned La Grange that legal action would be instituted against her, and insists all claims in the book have to be substantiated. This action is related in particular to the claim that Mandela’s wife Graca Machel was disregarded during his final days and the events leading up to the funeral.
In her book La Grange details several incidents about family fighting and the snubbing of Machel and close friends. La Grange mentioned how Mandela was too ill to speak at times, and the actions of his children in allowing strangers to visit him but not letting life-long friends visit.The book describes the emotional hurt of Machel and the allocation of only four seats at the Mandela funeral. The family of Nelson Mandela, with the exclusion of Zindzi Mandela, treated Machel with disrespect, according to La Grange.
La Grange said the truth must be told, and that is exactly what the book will outline. In the story, Makaziwe Mandela referred to Machel as Ms. Frantic once when she became anxiouswhen the ambulance broke down on route to the hospital during June last year. The disrespect shown toward Machel by the Mandela children is detailed in the book. These insinuations can lead to Mandela’s daughter taking legal action against La Grange.
The book is described as moving, tender and a rare insight into the life of former Nelson Mandela. La Grange a former typist who became Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, said he transformed her life. During their working relationship she often accompanied the statesman on overseas trips and had the opportunity of meeting world leaders and celebrities. A portion of the royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Meanwhile, both Machel and Winnie Madikizela Mandela (the former wife of Nelson Mandela) ended the mourning period on Sunday, June 15, six monhs after the political leader’s death. According to Xhosa tradition a twelve-month mourning period is called for as a sign of respect for the dead. In the case of Nelson Mandela, the period of mourning was shortened to six months only. Customary traditions required both wives to wear only black outfits during the period of mourning, and they were not allowed to appear in public. The mourning period will end with a cleansing ceremony in Qunu, the burial place of Nelson Mandela. The ceremony will be a private family affair as the Mandela clan have asked for respect during this ceremony.
The anticipated legal action against La Grange is not an empty threat from the daughter of the legendary Nelson Mandela. The eagerly awaited memoir of Nelson Mandela is due for release this week and La Grange will no doubt respect Madiba (clan name of Nelson Mandela) in her journal.
By Laura Oneale