Cape Town - Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, married Rabia Clarke in a private Muslim ceremony at the weekend.

The union took place at the Kensington Mosque on Saturday followed by a reception at the 15 On Orange Hotel in Cape Town.

Mandela is a traditional chief in the Eastern Cape village of Mvezo where his grandfather was born.

Former Muslim Judicial Council president Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels officiated at the ceremony attended by family and friends.

Mandela made the announcement late Sunday afternoon. “I am honoured and delighted to announce my marriage to Rabia Clarke, in Cape Town, on 6 February 2016. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Rabia’s parents, her extended family and the Muslim community, for welcoming me into their hearts.

“Although Rabia and I were raised in different cultural and religious traditions, our coming together reflects what we have in common: we are South Africans.”

Gabriels said: “I can say that it was an honour for me to perform the marriage ceremony for the grandson of our great leader Nelson Mandela.”

Gabriels said Mandela embraced Islam last year. Soon after, Clarke’s father approached Gabriels and requested that he perform the marriage ceremony.

He would not be drawn on the dowry paid to legitimise the ceremony, saying only: “The dowry was agreed between the husband and wife.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation referred the Cape Argus to Mandela for comment.

A Muslim marriage is usually conducted in the mosque of the father of the bride’s choice, with the groom offering a dowry to his new wife and reciting his intention to marry her. At the ceremony, called the nikah, the bride is represented by her father or next most senior relative.

Pictures of Mandela and his new bride, Rabia, made their way onto Facebook showing the couple posing for family portraits. Mandela wore a dark grey striped suit with purple tie, while Clarke wore a champagne-coloured dress and matching headwear.

Very little is known about the blushing bride and how she met hunky Mandla.

This is hopefully fourth time lucky for Mandla.

He was previously married to Tando Mabuna-Mandela, who left him, claiming he was infertile.

His second wife, Frenchwoman Anaïs Grimaud, gave birth to a daughter, but in 2012 Mandla denied paternity, claiming Grimaud had cheated with his brother.

He then married Swazi princess Nodiyala Mbali Makhathini in 2011, but later filed for divorce.

Cape Argus and Daily Voice