Mandela book withdrawn after outrage from widow

Former Deputy Chief Judge Dikgang Moseneke

Penguin‚ which had stated that it had accepted Mandela's Last Years for publication after the author advised it that he had been requested by Mandela's family to publish the book‚ said it was withdrawing the book out of respect for the late struggle icon's family.

While it is easy to sympathise with some of these sentiments, when it comes to Mandela these issues are far more complex.

In a televised interview on news channel eNCA on Sunday, Ramlakan said he had received permission to write the book from the Mandela family.

Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, said she is considering legal action and will consult with the executors of Mandela's will, South African media reported.

The book - Mandela's Last Years - was written by former SANDF surgeon-general Dr Vejay Ramlakan, who was part of the medical team treating Mandela in the months before his death.

He also tells how an ambulance carrying Mr. Mandela to the hospital had caught fire in June 2013, or a camera spying had been discovered in the morgue where his body lay.




Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said that the book should not have been published and that the foundation was not involved in its production.

When asked whether Machel had been consulted in the writing of the book, Ramlakan refused to be drawn. He however did say; "Let me say all parties who needed to be consulted were consulted, all from a point of view of publishing, and (we got) advice from publishers, lawyers as well".

"The story of his last years is actually, in a sense, more impressive than when he was fit".

In a statement, Penguin Random House SA said the book was "meant to portray Nelson Mandela's courage and strength until the very end of his life and was in no way intended to be disrespectful".

Mandela's widow Graca Machel and grandson Chief Mandla Mandela had threatened to sue the publisher in separate statements over the weekend.

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