Nelson Mandela Foundation in a spot over Zindzi tweets

Staff Writer | Jun 20, 2019
The Foundation says it declined to comment on the tweets, and did not say it wanted a meeting with Zindzi Mandela to discuss them – but a recording says otherwise.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) has taken issue with a news report suggesting it intended meeting Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi – South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark – to discuss her controversial weekend tweets.

The NMF rounded on Rapport journalist, Jacob Rooi, noting ‘with concern’ his report that the Foundation wanted to meet the ambassador before making any comment, and insisted that all it had said was that it had no comment to make.

It issued a statement to this effect, saying it wished to ‘stress that it has no intention of requesting a meeting with Ms Mandela regarding the tweets’, and that it ‘would like to indicate that when we declined to comment on the story it was precisely because we had no insight into the story, or what had motivated the tweets from Ms Mandela, if indeed they were from her’.

But News24 last evening released a recording of journalist Rooi’s interview with NMF communications director Luzuko Koti which contradicts the Foundation’s claim.

In the recording, Koti tells Rooi: ‘No, look, what we are saying is that we want to meet Mrs. Mandela to understand where she is coming from. We cannot form an opinion before we have spoken to her. So we will speak to her and once we heard where she’s coming from. At the moment we are unable to formulate an opinion (sic).’

Moments later, he goes on to say: ‘We are not making any opinion until we meet her. So, it’s not about distancing, it’s not about supporting ... it’s about waiting till we meet with her, sit down with her, understand where she is coming from, so she tells us what exactly she means by that statements although ... then we will formulate an opinion (sic).’

Other organisations have shown no reluctance in excoriating the ambassador, some demanding her recall, for referring in her tweets to – among other things - ‘these trembling white cowards’, ‘Thieving Rapist descendants of Van Riebeck’ (sic) and ‘shivering land thieves’ – but one exception is the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The EFF said it was ‘in full support of the ideas expressed on Twitter by Zindzi Mandela’ who ‘correctly tweeted about the need for black people to get their land back from white land thieves and racists’.

The party rejected the call for her resignation ‘as racist’ and an attempt to ‘suppress a legitimate open cry by the African child that land must be returned to its rightful owners, the black people’.

It went on: ‘There is nothing racist by stating the correct fact that white people drove a racist project of land dispossession called colonization. Through colonization they also gained cultural, religious and educational superiority, whilst suppressing and demonizing Africans.’

Thus, it argued, Zindzi Mandela ‘must be defended from the racists onslaught’ (sic).

Ironically, it concluded by saying: ‘We are further pleased that the Nelson Mandela Foundation has clarified that it never sought any meeting with her regarding her tweets.’


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