Nelson Mandela’s long-serving personal assistant has described the “chaos” around his funeral and bickering over his legacy in a hard-hitting memoir.
Zelda la Grange, who was Mandela’s assistant for almost 20 years, paints a picture of ANC politicians and his family clamouring to use Mandela for their own ends as he lay dying and during his funeral.
“I had never experienced such chaos,” she wrote of Mandela’s memorial service, laying in state and funeral, saying that plans were changed every few minutes.
“No one really knew who was in charge. One could not help but wonder whether it was just eight years of bad planning, wasting money on foreign travel to consult with other countries about events of this magnitude, or whether it was a deliberate attempt to exclude from Mandela’s funeral people who were not allied with the right people.”
La Grange also describes suspicions that her phone and that of others close to Mandela were tapped by South Africa security agencies, which may have also placed two agents on Mandela’s medical team.
Mandela’s daughter Zindzi as well as Mandela’s eldest grandson support La Grange.
Mandla Mandela said “I think, my grandfather is definitely at this hour …looking down with a big smile.”
Among the guests at the book launch were Mandela’s former anti-apartheid struggle comrades — the frail and ageing George Bizos and jail-mate Ahmed Kathrada.
Nobel laureate and retired archbishop Desmond Tutu said La Grange’s “utter devotion to Madiba was so, so obvious to anyone who beheld it. It was a very heartwarming thing.”
Source: The Citizen