‘I’m also Mandela’s daughter’

2010-08-14 00:00

A SECOND woman has made a public claim that she is Nelson Mandela’s love child.

The Star reported yesterday that Onicca Nyembezi Mothoa (63), born in 1947 to Sophie Majeni, was told by her stepfather at the age of 21 that she is Mandela’s child.

Her mother had refused to discuss her paternity with her and carried the secret to her grave. Mothoa has tried in vain to see Mandela, even travelling to Qunu in the Eastern Cape where he has a house, but has never gotten past his bodygyuards.

The Star quoted relatives of Mothoa as saying her grandparents forced her mother, Majeni, to break off contact with the activist when they had a child.

Mothoa’s uncle, Zondo Mahlangu, was quoted as saying: “Who wanted to be associated with Mandela? We knew Mandela was her father.”

Mothoa was quoted as saying of her mother: “She was very secretive. She refused to discuss it with me. But I heard she was hurt when they had to part ways to protect me and her.”

A week ago, the Mail&Guardian told the story of Mpho Pule, who claimed she was in her fifties when her grandmother told her she was Mandela’s child.

Pule, born in 1945, was also not told about her paternity by her mother. She attempted for years to contact Mandela through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Three months after her death in August last year, her family received a letter from the foundation to say they were close to verifying her claim and had referred her request for a meeting to the Mandela family.

The foundation urged her family to assign a male relative to negotiate with the Mandela family directly, and not continue to go through the foundation.

Asked for comment last week, Zinzi Mandela responded to the M&G that the family is still mourning the death of her granddaughter Zenani and that she will assign an elder from the family to respond on the matter, but she could not say when this would happen.

Both women bear a remarkable resemblance to Mandela. If their claims are true, they would have been fathered while Mandela was married to his first wife Evelyn.

Mandela married Evelyn in 1944. Historical records show that he and Evelyn formally separated in 1955 and divorced in 1957. Mandela married Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1958.

Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson Sello Hatang had not issued a formal response on the latest love child claim by the time Weekend Witness went to press.

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