Love keeps Zindzi Mandela out of Denmark

2015-03-01 15:00

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Six months after it was announced that Zindzi Mandela would take up a post as ambassador to Denmark, she is still in the country.

Government and family sources say the main reason former president Nelson Mandela’s youngest daughter remains in South Africa is apparently related to her partner’s inability to accompany her. But she has denied the claim.

Family sources told City Press that Mandela’s new partner, a tall, handsome Kenyan, did not want to go with her to Denmark, and she was not prepared to leave without him.

However, government sources said there could be problems with obtaining a security clearance for her partner.

Mandela sent City Press an SMS yesterday that said she was scheduled to depart on March 31, “as I am awaiting government processes to unfold”.

Mandela was supposed to have already arrived in Denmark as South Africa’s new ambassador after her appointment came to light in October last year and after she completed diplomatic training.

But City Press has heard from two sources that she is not going anywhere for now, even though she has already been listed as the ambassador to Denmark by a number of websites, including Who’s Who.

Her imminent appointment was leaked to the media in October, but the department of international relations and cooperation does not formally announce appointments until the ambassador has presented his or her credentials to the host country. This hasn’t happened yet in Mandela’s case.

“The things that came out with her are serious,” a source with knowledge of Mandela’s affairs told City Press.

It is believed that she was still in the process of responding to questions related to her clearance, which one source said could relate to her romantic partner not being eligible for clearance.

South Africa vets its diplomats before sending them off to foreign postings, but these officials are vetted again by the host country.

Any gaps in South Africa’s vetting process could prove to be embarrassing should the host country do its own vetting and reject any future diplomats for security reasons.

Mandela told City Press in an SMS: “There is no truth to [claims about her partner]. I am leaving with two sons and two domestic workers only, as I indicated in the forms that I have submitted to [the department of international relations and cooperation]”.

Mandela married former SA defence force member Molapo Motlhajwa in 2013 when she was 52 and he 37 in a small ceremony in Ikageng township in Potchefstroom, but there were reports that she kicked him out of the house barely seven months later because of his alleged serial infidelity.

City Press understands that South Africa might have to send another ambassador to Denmark because the position has been vacant since the previous ambassador, Samkelisiwe Isabel Mhlanga, left at the end of last year.

Mandela would be former president Mandela’s second daughter to become an ambassador, following Zenani Mandela-Dlamini’s stint in Argentina.

A family friend who spoke to City Press said Zindzi Mandela was initially earmarked for a US posting at the end of 2013.

However, her father died on December 5 2013 and she was required by custom to undergo six months of mourning. After the six months ended, she was prepared to take up the US posting, but was told it was no longer available.

According to the family friend, this greatly disappointed Zindzi because she wanted the US posting as her children are studying in that country.

It was later announced she was going to Denmark, but now her Kenyan partner is allegedly not keen on staying in Europe.

The family friend said Zindzi had even ignored her mother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who urged her to take up the position in Denmark.

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