More sneaky stuff around Madiba art

2010-09-12 09:42

Rumours about the allegedly failing health of former president Nelson Mandela this week have led to diplomatic embarrassment for the Mandela family in Slovenia.

Organisers in the country’s capital, Ljubljana, were informed by email that Madiba’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, was unable to attend a gala occasion for the elder statesman’s art and charity project because his health had deteriorated so much that family members had been told not to leave the country.

Mandla Mandela yesterday said he had never intended to attend the function.

He also said it was “absolutely untrue” that his grandfather was seriously ill.

“My grandfather is in good health. His only problem the past few years has been his weakened knees,” he said.

“His sense of humour has aged like good wine as he gets older. He becomes funnier by the day.”

He said: “Nobody in my family has been told not to leave the country,” adding that he was himself due to accompany the portfolio committee for rural development to Botswana and Malawi next month.

The Nelson Mandela foundation confirmed that all was well with Madiba’s health.

Sandra Brajko of the Moja Sanje charity organisation in Slovenia said she had been contacted by Izandla Marketing in South Africa to make arrangements for Mandela’s visit.

Africa Salutes You is an initiative of Mandela and artist Athol Moult.

It was a World Cup 2010 project in which Moult and the children of Mvezo, Madiba’s birthplace, made art works of every country that participated at the event.

Money generated by the sales of copies of the artworks will be used to build a secondary school in Mvezo. The works were signed by Madiba.

Brajko is a member of a prominent Slovenian family and organised, among other things, meetings between Madiba and the mayor of Ljubljana and the president of the Slovenian parliament.

“I hear now for the first time that I was supposed to be in Slovenia to meet these people,” said Mandla Mandela. “I do not know who made the arrangements.”

Brajko was informed by email by Thierry Leclair and Ross Calder of Izandla Marketing last Thursday that Mandela could not travel because of his grandfather’s health. City Press saw this email.

Calder’s name appears below that of Leclair on the email. Attempts to contacts him failed.

Leclair made the same allegation about Mandela’s health on Wednesday night at the gala event, said Brajko.

Só did Moult, who told City Press that he had been asked at short notice by Leclair to attend on behalf of Mandela.

Leclair yesterday referred all enquiries to Moult and his partner, Di Botha.

He said “the people who manage Africa Salutes You management” had told him about Mandela’s alleged ill health but he could not say who they were.

Calder and Ismail Ayob, Madiba’s former legal representative, were sued by Mandela a few years ago with regard to artworks with his allegedly forged signatures. A court order forbids them from dealing in Mandela artworks.

The gala event allegedly raised € 5000 (about R46 200) but Brajko wants to talk to Mandela before she hands the money over to his foundation.

“When I asked Leclair for an official copy of the bank detail of the trust for the Mvezo community I was told that the money does not go directly to the trust but has to be paid into Izandla’s account because costs have to be deducted from it before it can be paid to the trust,” she said.

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