JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, has accused South Africa's ruling African National Congress party of being disrespectful toward her and the Mandela family.
According to the Mail & Guardian, Madikizela-Mandela criticized the ANC under President Jacob Zuma's leadership in response to a request from the ANC to meet with the Mandelas to discuss the party's centenary celebrations.
Zuma today delivered a lecture on Nelson Mandela as part of ANC centenary events, ahead of the anti-apartheid fighter's birthday on July 18, celebrated in South Africa as Nelson Mandela Day.
Mandela, who will turn 94, is married to third wife Graca Machel, a prominent humanitarian who is the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel.
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Madikizela-Mandela, in an email to ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu, said her family "rejected" the ANC's request for a meeting ahead of Zuma's lecture for many reasons.
She said that in the past the ANC "never had any interest in celebrating Tata's [Mandela's] birthday except to gate crash on the family's arrangements," the M&G reported.
"The family is still grappling with the most shabby treatment throughout the years," she reportedly wrote in the email, adding that "we are deeply hurt as the family."
Madikizela-Mandela also said that neither Zuma nor Mthembu had visited her when she was in hospital earlier this year for a knee operation.
Mthembu said the ANC would not comment on the email correspondence.
In his lecture today, Zuma praised South Africa's first black and democratically elected president as "a unique and great statesman who is able to win over even his enemies," and called him "the majestic Madiba," using Mandela's Xhosa clan name.
Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, 53, the oldest daughter from Nelson Mandela's marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was last week named South Africa's ambassador to Argentina.
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