‘Tell us WHO SAID YES’

Madiba’s grand­son is on a mis­sion to find out which fam­ily mem­ber gave per­mis­sion for a con­tro­ver­sial book about the de­ceased states­man’s last days

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Mandla Man­dela has called on Pen­guin Ran­dom House, the pub­lish­ers of Man­dela’s Last Years, to re­veal the name of the fam­ily mem­ber who sup­pos­edly gave per­mis­sion for the con­tro­ver­sial book to be pub­lished so that the fam­ily can deal with them.

Au­thored by for­mer sur­geon-gen­eral Ve­jay Ram­lakan, the book gives an in­sight into for­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela’s health be­fore his death in De­cem­ber 2013 and has caused a pub­lic out­cry, with the Man­dela fam­ily lead­ing the charge, forc­ing its pub­lish­ers to pull it off the shelves within days of its re­lease. Mandla, Madiba’s el­dest grand­son, also lam­basted Ram­lakan for try­ing to profit from his grand­fa­ther’s name.

“It was the doc­tor him­self, Ram­lakan, who said he got author­ity from the fam­ily to pub­lish the book. When the pub­lish­ers put out its statement to with­draw the book, they also said there was a fam­ily mem­ber that had given au­tho­ri­sa­tion for this book to be pub­lished,” Man­dela said this week.

“There­fore, in the spirit of be­ing trans­par­ent, we would like the pub­lisher to re­veal the name of that fam­ily mem­ber be­cause I believe that, as a fam­ily, we are united in up­hold­ing Madiba’s le­gacy.

“If there is some­one within us that holds a con­trary view, then we would like to un­der­stand who would com­mit such a gross vi­o­la­tion of Madiba’s dig­nity.”

Mandla said he did not want to spec­u­late about who it was – it was re­ported this week that Madiba’s ex-wife, Win­nie Madik­izela Man­dela, and daugh­ter Makaziwe were in favour of the book – but wanted the pub­lish­ers and Ram­lakan to re­veal the fam­ily mem­ber’s name so that the fam­ily can ask that per­son why they did what they did.

Mandla said he had not per­son­ally seen the book, but only read snip­pets of it on News24.

“Here is a found­ing fa­ther of our democ­racy, an African states­man and global icon, and his per­sonal is­sues have been now dis­cussed in de­tail by a doc­tor that he once trusted,” Mandla said. “And that doc­tor has found means of not just breach­ing doc­tor­pa­tient con­fi­den­tial­ity, but has also tried to gain from Madiba’s name. We take ex­cep­tion to that and this is why we called on the pub­lish­ers to with­draw this book.”

Mandla called on those who al­ready have copies of the book – which is now in high de­mand – to “do the right thing”.

“I wouldn’t want to pre­scribe to peo­ple what to do, but they would have heard the call from the fam­ily ... and if they seek and strive to up­hold Madiba’s le­gacy, they would do the right thing,” he said.

Mandla also ap­plauded the pub­lish­ers for do­ing the right thing and said he had con­fi­dence in Madiba’s lawyers to bring Ram­lakan to book.

And while the book’s re­lease had been very up­set­ting, the fam­ily is work­ing hard to keep Madiba’s le­gacy alive.

“I am in KwaZulu-Na­tal to­day [Thurs­day] to en­gage with the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in prepa­ra­tion for the Man­dela Day Marathon at the end of Au­gust,” he said. “In Mvezo and Qunu yes­ter­day and to­day we have been plant­ing trees in an and around the ar­eas that Madiba was proud of.

“Th­ese are the things that will al­ways be com­ing up, we just as­sert our­selves and speak to the le­gacy as we know it.”


THAT WAS THEN For­mer sur­geon-gen­eral Ve­jay Ram­lakan (left) and Chief Mandla Man­dela

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