It is doubtful that former President Nelson Mandela is getting the rest he needs during his old age. As expected for someone in his nineties, Madiba has many medical concerns. The last time he was in hospital he received treatment for pneumonia. On 29 April, South Africans woke up to images of an obviously frail and unwell Mandela flanked by ANC leaders. The controversial broadcast showed President Jacob Zuma as he tried to lighten the mood while Madiba remained unresponsive.
Soon thereafter, the public became aware of his daughters’ intentions to strip the freedom icon of his assets. The Public News Hub reported that Mandela’s daughters, Makaziwe and Zenani, are now suing him for the control of his assets including an expensive art collection.
On Tuesday, the media reported that Makaziwe, Mandela’s eldest daughter, had done an exclusive interview with the Associated Press. During the interview she opened up about the strained relationship she has with her father. Makaziwe said that Nelson Mandela never had much time to be an active parent in his children’s lives.
Nelson Mandela has lived a life motivated by and dedicated to the fight for freedom and equality. Before his arrest and lengthy incarceration, he had already given years of his life to the struggle. Things got worse after his release and inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa, putting an end to the apartheid government.
Mandela also admitted his shortcomings as a parent in his internationally acclaimed book Long Walk to Freedom. He agreed that periods of long absence from his family led to the failure of his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Nelson Mandela wrote frankly: “When your life is the struggle, as mine was, there is little room left for family.”
Makaziwe reiterates Madiba’s failure as a father. She believes that Mandela still looks back at his role in the family unit with regret. However, she maintains that her father’s failure was not from a lack of trying on his part. She appreciates that he did make an effort but his life in ‘the movement’ made things difficult for him.