The Mandela family has welcomed the withdrawal of the book Mandela’s Last Years by the publishers – but wants to know who the family member was who allegedly gave the author permission to write it.
“We are told that some member of the Mandela family was consulted by the author but remain entirely unaware of this. We would like to appeal in the interest of transparency that the name of the family member be disclosed so that we may verify and deal with this matter‚” Mandla Mandela‚ grandson of former president Nelson Mandela‚ said in a statement issued on behalf of the Mandela family.
Publishers Penguin Random House South Africa (PRHSA) announced in a statement on Monday that the book would be immediately withdrawn “from the trade”. This followed objections by the family and the executors of the Nelson Mandela’s estate who distanced themselves from the book after former First Lady‚ Graca Machel‚ on Friday threatened to sue the author‚ Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan‚ arguing it breached patient-doctor confidentiality.
Ramlakan was Madiba’s doctor for nearly a decade.
Penguin‚ which had stated that it had accepted Mandela’s Last Years for publication after the author advised it that he had been requested by Mandela’s family to publish the book‚ said it was withdrawing the book out of respect for the late struggle icon’s family.
Responding to the news on Monday evening‚ Mandla Mandela said the family were “delighted”.
“We believe this is the correct choice as it upholds the dignity of our world icon and respects the wishes of his family to guard the sanctity of his last moments.
“We applaud Penguin for acting decisively and wish to express our sincere appreciation to them for taking heed and being sensitive to the feelings of the family and those entrusted with the protection of Madiba’s legacy‚” Mandla said.
He added: “We want to thank Aunty Graca Machel for acting so swiftly. Penguin’s decision vindicates our position and we trust that it sends out a loud and clear message that some things are worth more than money and that the man whom we call Father of our Nation can rest in peace. We believe that abuse of the Mandela name and legacy is an act of bad faith and unbecoming of the type of treatment meted out to so brave and noble a legacy.
“We trust that this withdrawal sends out a strong message to those who desire to do the legacy of Nkosi Dalibhunga a disservice and who put the good name of President Mandela and his family at risk for paltry gain.
“The private and personal disclosures made in the book would have been a sad day in which profit triumphed over dignity‚ honour and respect. It would indeed have been one of those moments which Madiba referred to when he said: “There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested”. We thank Penguin Publications for acting with sagacity and upholding the final wishes of one who gave so much to the world.”