An audio recording released by the Sunday newspaper Rapport proves that the Nelson Mandela Foundation did in fact say it wanted to meet with ambassador Zindzi Mandela over her controversial tweets.
The tweets, which caused quite a stir, contained phrases calling white South Africans are “land thieves” and “apartheid apologists” who are just like “unwelcome guests”.
The foundation had earlier denied making the statement about meeting with Mandela, who is South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark.
Luzuko Koti, communications director of the foundation, told the media on Monday his reaction when approached by a Rapport journalist, Jacob Rooi, was “no comment”.
He stated: “So the journalist turned our ‘no comment’ reaction into a story with no factual basis. The tweets after the report were unfortunate. We never said we wanted to meet Zindzi Mandela to discuss her tweets,” Koti was quoted by The Star newspaper.
The foundation issued a statement on Tuesday in this regard.
In the audio clip, Rooi asked Koti’s reaction on the tweets and he said the foundation wanted “to meet Mrs Mandela to understand where she is coming from”.
Rooi said he was vilified on Twitter and decided to set the record straight.
“This is a verbatim record of the conversation we had on Saturday. I phoned him about 4pm, but he did not read the tweets at that stage. I phoned him again at 6.26pm and he answered as follows.”
Rooi: Hallo Luzuko.
Koti: It is Luzuko here.
Rooi: Its Jacob again, man.
Rooi: Did you read the tweets at this time?
Koti: “Say that again?
Rooi: Did you read Zindzi Mandela’s tweets?
Koti: Yes, yes, I saw that.
Rooi. Okay. What is the comments of the Nelson Mandela Foundation?
Koti: No, look, what we are saying is that we want to meet Mrs. Mandela to understand where she is coming from. We cannot form an opinion before we have spoken to her.
So we will speak to her and once we heard where she’s coming from. At the moment we are unable to formulate an opinion.
Koti: Are you writing a story for tomorrow?
Rooi: Ja, its front page.
Koti: Unfortunately we havent met... (unclear)
Rooi: But you can’t distance the foundation from what she is saying there, what she is tweeting.
Koti: We are not making any opinion until we meet her. So, it’s not about distancing, it’s not about supporting ... its about waiting till we meet with her, sit down with her, understand where she is coming from, so she tells us what exactly she means by that statements although ... then we will formulate an opinion.”
In the tweets, the 59-year-old daughter of former president Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela added that white people were making a mistake by clinging to their “good native” fantasies, and that it was time black South Africans took their land back.
“Whilst I dine and wine here ... wondering how the world of shivering land thieves is doing,” Mandela wrote on Twitter on Thursday night.
Her tirade on the social media platform started with the following words: “Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs.”
When Mandela’s undiplomatic comments were criticised, she said she was not answerable to any white man or woman.