SOUTH AFRICA: Mandela family to star in reality TV show

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REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- South Africa’s version of the Kennedys, the famous former first family -- the Mandelas -- will star in a TV reality show next year.

But former President Nelson Mandela, 93 and increasingly frail, won’t be a part of the show.

Three of his granddaughters, the offspring of his two ex-wives, will appear on the show, which has not been given a name.

Interactive timeline: Nelson Mandela’s remarkable life


‘We’re definitely not the African Kardashians,’ said Mandela’s granddaughter, Dorothy Adjoa Amuah, one of three grandchildren who will appear in the show, announced Thursday in Johannesburg. She’s the granddaughter of the late Evelyn Mandela, the former president’s first wife, whom he divorced in 1957.

Her cousins, Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini, granddaughters of controversial ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, will also be featured.

Amuah said the show would focus on Africa’s new breed of middle-class intellectuals and their contribution to the economy.

Producers were at pains to reassure South Africans that the show wouldn’t detract from Mandela’s dignity, as the country’s Twitterati bleated anxiously that a reality show might undermine the country’s world-renowned former president.

‘We’re not wearing ‘I’m a Mandela’ T-shirts,’ said Swati Dlamini.

The show’s theme is the burden of a famous name. Producers said the show was about three young black women making their own way in the world. It will look at their lives as career women and mothers.

Dlamini-Manaway, 34, and Dlamini, 32, grew up in the U.S. but recently returned to South Africa.

Dlamini-Manaway has two children, and is expecting a third. She is a member of the family business, Mandela Dlamini Associates and has plans to start her own fashion company. Her sister plans a charity foundation.

Amuah, 27, is involved in marketing luxury brands.

Producer Rick Leed said part of the reality show might be fiction and part of it fact.

‘This may be part storytelling, part reality, except the story we are telling is real. ... It’s not going to detract from the dignity of Nelson Mandela.’


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-- Robyn Dixon