Madiba double barred from funeral

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Ayanda Mbatyothi not only looks like a duplicate of the young Madiba, but his ability to speak, smile and dance like him impressed many near Mandelas home. Picture: Cindy Waxa

Qunu - While family and friends of Nelson Mandela gathered at his Qunu home to mourn the father of the nation, those who didn’t make it to the funeral service could be forgiven for thinking they had seen a ghost outside his home.

His lookalike, Ayanda Mbatyothi, 37, from Duncan Village in East London, not only looks like a duplicate of the young Madiba, but his ability to speak, smile and dance like him impressed many near Mandela’s home.

This father of three, who is a community worker, had come to Qunu hoping to be allowed to attend the funeral service, but his efforts were thwarted.

An emotional Mbatyothi said: “I’m very disappointed for not being in the tent. Since the beginning of the week I’ve been hounding the officials to make a way for me to attend, but they have shut doors in my face.

“Tata knew me very well… I shared a stage with him so many times, including when he was inaugurated as president.

“I mimic everything about him because he was my hero.”

 

Although Mbatyothi was disappointed, his attention was diverted when crowds of people, including foreign journalists, flocked around him and recorded him as he repeated of Mandela’s famous speeches.

Mbatyothi, who plays Mandela in Leon Schuster’s movie Mama Jack, said while being a Mandela lookalike had opened doors for him, he was disappointed at having been overlooked for a part in Long Walk to Freedom.

 

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