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Johannesburg - A source of reports claiming that Nelson Mandela has died is a financial manager from Joburg, who describes herself as “proudly South African” and “about to make her mark on the writing scene”.
Laura Oneale, a mother of three, is the reporter who has given the Las Vegas Guardian Express (guardianlv.com/) reports about Mandela’s health over the past few months.
On June 26, Oneale wrote that the elderly statesman had died the previous night on June 25, but did not name any official source. Guardian Express suggested that the source was from the SABC.
“Speculation surrounding his health continued and now we have been informed that the great man is deceased. Sources said that he was on a life support system and remained in critical condition. His family was given time to share their loss before the world was informed of his passing,” the report stated.
While saying that there had actually not been any official confirmation on the death, Oneale went on to say that there were speculations that the government and family did not tell the truth because of US President Barack Obama’s then upcoming trip to South Africa. Announcing Mandela’s death, she wrote, could overshadow the visit.
The fact that the presidency kept updating the nation about Mandela’s condition did nothing to sway Oneale’s opinion of the former statesman’s alleged death, writing more opinion-based articles on how his family and the government were keeping the truth from everyone.
On July 17 she wrote: “The ongoing lies and deceit remain a worrying factor, as the truth is not being told. Tomorrow will mark forty-one days of intensive care treatment, and this is arguably the most devious lie of all. We know that intensive care treatment is for severe life-threatening illnesses, and on his fifteen days of treatment, it was reported that his kidneys were functioning at 50 percent only. So terribly sad indeed.”
As the Presidency continued to assure the nation that Mandela was still in hospital and still receiving treatment, it was clear that Oneale was not buying what Mac Maharaj, spokesman for the Presidency, was saying. In August she wrote: “A man of 95 years in hospital, critically sick, but stable, for almost three months seems like the ultimate fabrication – and with the history of how dishonest the current government is, maybe they will find a Nelson double and say he had a miraculous recovery. It is possible that they are scheming on how to deal with the nightmare of their own making and construct a well-devised plan to deceive the public and maintain their power with the upcoming election.”
When it was announced that Mandela was discharged from hospital on Sunday, Oneale wrote another article, backtracking her original story by saying there was a possibility that Mandela was still alive.
“One possible explanation is to keep him alive until they obtain their court ruling and even until the 2014 general election has ended. The direct and disrespectful approach the family and government have reported about his hospital stay is nothing short of manipulative.
“Whether he is dead or alive, only the government or the Mandela family will know the truth.”
The Star tried to get in touch with Oneale on Monday morning about her articles but was unable to speak to her before deadline.
“I do not mind talking to you regarding my articles, however I do suggest you read them first. I believe this will give a clearer indication of what I said,” was her response.
She declined to be contacted by phone, claiming a radio reporter had recorded her without permission.
A website page (www.independentauthornetwork.com/laura-oneale.html) provides the self-proclaimed journalist's achievements: she's a financial manager for a business in Benoni and her three sons are in the music industry. She has “completed” (but not published) several short stories, and her self-published first novel is available on Amazon.com.
In a short bio, she describes her hometown of Johannesburg as a “majestic ever-changing country where mountains soar; wild animals roam and a Rainbow Nation is emerging”.
Nothing on the site suggests she has had any journalistic training, or experience in the field.
The site seems primarily a way to promote Oneale's fantasy-scifi-historical-fiction-religious-allegory-in-the-form-of-a-novel “Sipho And The Star Pearl”.
The novel focuses on a universe where Earth has a sister planet called Anglur, whose denizens can communicate with their “God Most High”.
“The Anglurians wish to end evil on Earth and create a more idyllic environment like theirs; that is their; To that end, they have decided to recruit the Zulu people of Africa to assist them,” the summary reads.
In what appears to be an attempt to appeal to international markets, she describes Zulus as “colourful…a real clan of people that exist today in Africa”.
But the real focus of the book is on a Zulu-Anglurian hybrid named Sipho, who, accompanied by two English children have to descend into hell to retrieve objects known as “Star Pearls” from Satan himself.
The book's sepia cover shows an uncomfortable-looking young child on some unidentified African plain, a bolt of lightening striking in the distance.
The website says this first novel is but the first in the Anglurian Odyssey series, with a massive banner on the site reading: “COMING SOON: THE SEQUAL (sic) - RETURN TO ANGLURIA”.