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Madiba's granddaughters tweet answers

10 July 2013, 17:00

Johannesburg - Two of Nelson Mandela's granddaughters, who star in a family reality television show, took to social networking site Twitter for nine hours to answer questions about their ailing grandfather.

Being Mandela stars Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini announced via the show's twitter handle @beingmandela just after 13:00 on Tuesday that they were "answering all your questions and addressing your comments today".

The two are the children of Zenani Mandela, daughter of Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Shortly after that, tweets about Nelson Mandela's health dominated the session.

Carlo Petersen asked about Mandela's reported vegetative state.

"I have no authority to comment on his personal health," was the response from @beingmandela.

He smiles

Journalist Deborah Patta asked if Mandela was communicative, to which @beingmandela responded "he smiles".

Natasha Tay asked if the former president communicated in other ways.

"...with eyes and eye movement," was the response.

Answers to questions about Mandela's health remained evasive, with regular references to the duo's lack of medical knowledge.

Karen Osborn said: "I believe that a person can only stay on life support for so many days, how is this possible?"

The reply was: "That's a question for the doctors, never went to [medical] school. Sorry.

"We are relying on the medical team to advise us and they have been doing an amazing job and most important[ly] we put it in God's hands," they replied.

Recent court debacle

Journalist Kristen van Schie asked if any strategy was discussed to protect the family brand, in light of the recent court debacle about the graves of three of Nelson Mandela's children.

"...listen we are not proud of the way things turned out. They had to happen and at the end we are still family."

When journalist Matthew Savides asked how the family planned to restore the unity, he was told: "We allow the elders of the family to guide us... The unity has never left, it was just one member that decided differently. We will always love our cousin [Mandla]."

Media vultures

Sky News correspondent Robert Nisbet asked if they agreed that the media were behaving like vultures in covering their grandfather's illness.

Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela said last week that journalists were behaving like vultures outside the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated.

"Some media houses have been terrible, but we know they have a job to do, but we know we have to protect Madiba's rights as a patient," the two said.



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