UK & World News

  • 8 February 2013, 12:19

Mandela's Granddaughters Launch Reality Show

Nelson Mandela's granddaughters are starring in a new reality television show, which follows their lives in Johannesburg.

Mr Mandela does not appear in the show, Being Mandela, but the anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and first black South African president is often referred to as "Big Grandpa".

Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini, have also launched a clothing range under the name Long Walk to Freedom, the title of Mr Mandela's autobiography.

But the pair, who live a glamorous lifestyle and spent most of their childhood in the US, have denied tarnishing the family name.

Swati Dlamini said: "We get asked this question a lot. Is this not going to tarnish the name and is this not going to be bad for the name?"

" ... our grandparents have always said to us, this is our name too, and we can do what we think is best fitting with the name, as long as we treat it with respect and integrity."

The two are the granddaughters of Mr Mandela and his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, " Big Mommy", who does appear in the show.

The women say that 94-year-old Mr Mandela, who has recently been in hospital because of a chest infection, is "happy and healthy".

They also said that he would be watching their show, which starts on Sunday on the US channel, COZI TV.

"You'll be interested to know that he loves Toddlers and Tiarras," said Swati, in reference to the TLC series about child beauty pageants.

The pair say their grandfather holds the family to high standards and sets rules for when the children should be home and when dinner should start.

"He's a very strict person. Most people wouldn't think that but he really, really is," Zaziwe, who is married to an American businessman and has three children, said.

They say it was only after Mr Mandela retired from public life that they started to get to know him.

Swati said: "Our grandfather always told us that he belongs to the country and he's of service to the country and he doesn't belong to us as a family. And that's the sacrifice he's made for the country and that what he's told us as far as I can remember."

The 13-episode first season follows the two women as they try to carry on the family legacy while juggling motherhood in Johannesburg.

The sisters make an emotional visit to the prison on Robben Island where their grandfather spent 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned by South Africa's white-ruled government.

Swati, who is not married, works on publishing the prison diaries that her grandmother Winnie wrote but now cannot bear to read.

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