Mandela's daughter tells of regret and strain
In this Friday, May 24, 2013 image made from AP Video, former South African President Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela, speaks to the Associated Press, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nelson Mandela, in the twilight of life, doesn't talk much anymore, his eldest daughter says. But the former South African president, who wrote of his regret at being unable to devote himself to his family during the fight against apartheid and afterward, reaches out in another way.
And for me, if you ask me what I would treasure, it is this moment that I treasure with my father,” said Makaziwe Mandela, the oldest of Mandela's three surviving children, all daughters. It could be the story of any family, this intimate encounter between an elderly parent beset by illness and a child with whom relations have, over many decades, been challenging or negligible.
That the couple's communication has become so elemental also sheds light on the fragile state of a larger-than-life figure, revered for his sacrifice during 27 years as a prisoner of apartheid and his peacemaking role in South Africa's shift to a democracy inclusive of all races. And he has good days and he has bad days,” Makaziwe Mandela said Friday in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in her home, where a bust of her father, made from bronze and the wood of a railway tie, sits on a piano in the foyer.
One of those bad days was April 29, when state television broadcast footage of a visit by President Jacob Zuma and other leaders of the ruling African National Congress to Mandela, who had helmed the ANC, at his Johannesburg home. Zuma said Mandela was in good shape, but the footage - the first public images of Mandela in nearly a year - showed him silent and unresponsive, even when Zuma tried to hold his hand.
Makaziwe Mandela said her family is grateful that the “movement,” as she refers to the ANC leadership, still visits her father.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at The Independent on Saturday