I’ll trea­sure fi­nal mem­ory of dad – Zindzi

Daugh­ter, Win­nie speak on Madiba

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NELSON MANDELA 1918-2013 - KASHIEFA AJAM AND SAPA

ZINDZI Man­dela says she is blessed by her last mem­ory of her fa­ther Nel­son Man­dela.

“I have a very nice mem­ory – my last mem­ory of him is very nice. I think that’s my bless­ing. That the last time I saw him I had been teas­ing him and play­ing with his hair, and I could sense an in­ner eye roll ‘oh my God here is this loud child again’. And the smile and how he tried to lift his head and reach out to me,” she told ITV News in the first ex­clu­sive in­ter­view fol­low­ing Man­dela’s death .

“That’s my last mem­ory of him. I will trea­sure it for­ever.”

The in­ter­view was broad­cast as Man­dela’s ly­ing in state ended yes­ter­day evening, with his cof­fin be­ing car­ried down the steps of the Union Build­ing’s am­phithe­atre for the fi­nal time.

Man­dela’s grand­son Mandla spoke softly to it, fol­low­ing tra­di­tional cus­tom.

Zindzi told ITV News’ Mark Austin about the im­por­tance of for­giv­ing her fa­ther for hurt he had caused her, and about the guilt she felt at not be­ing with him when he died.

And while she is yet to go back into his bed­room and shed a tear for her fa­ther, who passed away at his Houghton home last week while she at­tended the Lon­don screen­ing of Man­dela: Long Walk to Free­dom, Zindzi said she had for­given her­self.

“We of­ten had episodes of my Dad’s health where the fam­ily got anx­ious where we were told to be on standby, so I thought it was one of those mo­ments when I heard he re­ally wasn’t do­ing well. But from the tone from peo­ple at home, I re­alised it was more se­ri­ous,” she tells Austin.

“I spoke to the di­rec­tor and said we’ll go to the pre­miere and we’ll talk to peo­ple, but if you could please have us ex­cused by the Royal cou­ple, that as soon as the lights went down we need to go back to the ho­tel, my sis­ter and I, and to wait to hear and be in touch with the fam­ily at home. We did that. Just as we left my sis­ter called from the car and that’s when we knew,” Zindzi said. “I said ‘Oh my God, no, what time was that’, and I knew.”

In a sep­a­rate ex­clu­sive in­ter­view, Win­nie Madik­ize­laMan­dela said she broke down when the sol­diers came to take her for­mer hus­band away.

She told how the doc­tors did not ex­pect Man­dela to sur­vive more than a week af­ter he was dis­charged from hos­pi­tal ear­lier this year.

She was there when Man­dela died last Thurs­day evening. She had been alerted to his con­di­tion by Zindzi, so she phoned Man­dela’s doc­tor.

“He said: ‘No, Mama, I think you’d bet­ter visit’. He had never used that word be­fore. When he spoke like that… then I knew there was a very se­ri­ous prob­lem.”

Madik­izela- Man­dela said she kept vigil at Man­dela’s bed­side for al­most four hours.

“Then he drew his last breath and just rested… He was gone.”

PIC­TURE: GCIS

GOOD­BYES: Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela pays her last re­spects to Nel­son Man­dela, ly­ing in state at the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria.

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