I’ll treasure final memory of dad – Zindzi
Daughter, Winnie speak on Madiba
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.”
GOODBYES: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela pays her last respects to Nelson Mandela, lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.