Mandela widow ‘treated with disrespect’, aide says

June 15, 2014 4:46 pm
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File photo shows Mandela and Graca Machel waving on their arrival for the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg on July 11, 2010/AFP
File photo shows Mandela and Graca Machel waving on their arrival for the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg on July 11, 2010/AFP
JOHANNESBURG, Jun 15 – Nelson Mandela’s widow was treated badly by members of his family as the peace icon was fighting for his life in hospital, excerpts from a memoir by his long-time aide have revealed.

In a book likely to ruffle some feathers within the large Mandela family, Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s personal assistant for 19 years, tells of shabby treatment suffered by Graca Machel, even in the aftermath of her husband’s death.

La Grange’s book “Good Morning, Mr Mandela” will be launched on Thursday.

Excerpts published by Sunday Times newspaper reveal that Machel was once called “Ms Frantic” by Mandela’s eldest daughter Makaziwe, after media reports that she had been in a frenzy when an ambulance driving Mandela to hospital broke down on a motorway on a cold evening in June 2013.

La Grange also recalled family squabbles over control of the revered statesman during his final days, sidelining Machel.

She says debates within the Mandela family about his funeral took place for years before he died in December last year at the age of 95.

Machel had refused to be party to such arrangements.

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