City Press Exclusive – ‘Obviously Mandla is the baby’s father’

2012-08-18 17:21

Wife of Mvezo chief says her husband is talking ‘crap’

Mandla Mandela’s estranged wife is clear: the man she fled to return to her home on the island of Reunion is “a bad person”.

And Anais Grimaud insists her high-profile husband is lying when he claims their infant son is actually the product of an affair.

Mandla, the chief of the Mvezo traditional council, has accused his second wife of sleeping with and falling pregnant by one of his three younger brothers.

The granddaughter-in-law of former president Nelson Mandela is holed up in her mother’s apartment on Reunion island with her son, who is nearly a year old.

Her new home in a lower middle-class neighbourhood in the town of Le Tampon appears to be a marked step down from what she was used to at the Mvezo Great Place in the Eastern Cape, where she lived with her husband and his other wife.

City Press travelled to Reunion this week to speak to Grimaud. She declined a face-to-face interview, saying she was too afraid. But she insists she is not going back.

“(Mandla) is a bad person,” she fumed on the phone from her apartment.

“I don’t want to have anything to do with him – for my security and the security of my son.

“The Mandela family is very powerful. If I say something, he (Mandla) will just contradict what I say,” she said, before adding, “It’s over ... I don’t want to talk about it. It is a normal divorce.”

She was reluctant to discuss her relationship with her estranged husband, but insisted that Mandla was her baby’s father.

She angrily dismissed her husband’s allegations that his brother fathered the boy as “crap”.

“I saw the press statement that he released. It said the baby was his brother’s son, and whatever crap,” she said in fluent, South African-accented English.

“He is putting his family’s life in danger.”

Asked directly whether her son was fathered by Mandla, she hesitated slightly before responding: “Yes. Obviously he is his son.”

She also insisted that the Mandelas didn’t send her back to her mother’s home but that she left of her own accord. “A lot of the things he said are not true. No one knew that I was gone. It’s not like he discussed anything with the family. That’s just crap,” she said.

The family appeared to have had high hopes for the marriage – Nelson Mandela chose the little boy’s name.

When asked if she wished to return to Mvezo, Grimaud angrily responded: “For what? Mandla is someone who is very complex. He is coming out with different personalities.”

And then, a tinge of apparent regret: “But he is a good man underneath, I guess.”

When asked how she was holding up, she said, “I’m not dead.”

She would not reveal why she left.

“I can’t tell you why I left, because that would be the bomb. That is the best thing about the story,” she said.

“Because then I would have to tell you about the polygamy and everything. I have to discuss everything with my lawyer first. He is in France at the moment.”

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