The family crisis involving Nelson Mandela’s grandson and ANC MP Mandla Mandela deepened this week, with claims that he could not produce offspring naturally, and that the newborn baby he introduced to the world last September – who is now nearly a year old – was not his.
The 38-year-old Mandla claimed in a media statement this week that one of his brothers had impregnated his second wife, French-speaking Anais Grimaud, with the result that she was banished to Reunion.
The alleged affair has split the couple, who have been married for two years and five months.
Suspicion then fell on his brothers, Ndaba, 29, and Mbuso, 21, but both have denied paternity.
Mandla, Ndaba, Mbuso and 19-year-old Andile are the only sons of Nelson Mandela’s son Magkatho Mandela, who died in 2005.
Magkatho was one of four children Nelson Mandela had with his first wife, Evelyn Mase.
Mandla, the chief of Mvezo where his grandfather was born, has declined to respond to repeated inquiries from Weekend Argus, Saturday Star’s sister publication.
Mandla married his third wife, Mbalenhle Makhathini on Christmas Eve last year, after marrying Grimaud in March 2010, and Tando Mabuna in June 2004.
Grimaud’s baby, Qheya II Zanethemba Mandela, was born in September, a year and six months into their marriage. He was believed to be Mandla’s only child.
Shortly afterwards he and Grimaud presented the boy to Nelson Mandela, who named him during a ceremony in Qunu. Images of the couple, their baby and Nelson Mandela were published in SA and across the globe.
On Thursday, Mbuso Mandela became the latest of Mandla’s brothers to deny paternity, when he told Weekend Argus: “No, it’s not me.”
Ndaba had already denied paternity, which saw all eyes turning to Mbuso.
Mbuso said: “I heard about it for the first time this week and I was shocked. It’s a concern for me… this whole hullabaloo the family is going through.”
When asked whether he had discussed the issue with Mandla, Mbuso said: “No, I haven’t. And I don’t even know where he currently finds himself.”
It is understood Mandla is overseas.
Earlier this week Ndabo, chairman and founder of the Africa Rising Foundation, also denied paternity to an Eastern Cape daily newspaper.
“Nobody knows who the father is, but I can confidently confirm it was not me. Mandla told me he was not the father. She (Grimaud) left because of their problems, the child’s paternity was probably one of the main reasons. I have never touched her in a sexual way,” the Daily Dispatch quoted him as saying.
Ndaba is the father of two-year-old Lewanika Ngubencuka Mandela.
In Mandla’s statement, released on Monday, he said: “The Mandela family has sent my wife back to her home after it was discovered that she has been having an affair with one of my brothers. I confirm that this affair resulted in a son that she gave birth to in 2011. I can also confirm that DNA tests have confirmed the child is not mine.”
Mandla’s first wife, Tando Mabuna, filed papers in the Mthatha High Court on Monday, claiming he was unable to conceive naturally.
The issue is likely to come to a head in the Eastern Cape on August 30 when aspects of the divorce case are argued in the Mthatha High Court.
Mandla has hired Cape Town attorneys Gary Jansen and Randall Titus to defend him, while Mabuna will be defended by Port Elizabeth attorney Wesley Hayes.
Mabuna, who is divorcing Mandla, requests the annulment of Mandla’s marriage to his third wife, Makhathini.
Mabuna is the only one married to Mandla in a civil ceremony. The other two were traditional ceremonies.
She made the allegations about Mandla’s fertility problems in her replying affidavit to papers filed in June by Mandla. Mandla alleged that he needed to marry many wives so that he could produce an heir. - Saturday Star