Meghan marrying a white prince doesn’t compare to overcoming apartheid, says Mandela’s grandson

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in South Africa in 2019 - BETRAM MALGAS /POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in South Africa in 2019 – BETRAM MALGAS /POOL/AFP via Getty Images

A grandson of Nelson Mandela has said the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry can “never be compared” to the historic release of the anti-apartheid campaigner from jail, speaking of his “surprise” at the two being linked in a recent interview by the Duchess of Sussex.

The Duchess, speaking in an in-depth magazine interview, had claimed a South African actor had told her people had rejoiced on the streets at the time of her wedding, just as they had when Mandela walked free.

Zwelivelile ‘Mandla’ Mandela, an MP, said the 1990 release of his grandfather from prison after 27 years was “based on overcoming 350 years of colonialism with 60 years of a brutal apartheid regime in South Africa”.

“So it cannot be equated to as the same,” he said. “It can never be compared to the celebration of someone’s wedding.”

The comparison was described by the Duchess during an interview with US magazine The Cut, in which an interviewer visited her home in Montecito and joined her on the nursery run.

In it, the Duchess recalled attending the 2019 premiere of the live-action version of the Lion King, walking the yellow carpet with the Duke.

“I just had Archie. It was such a cruel chapter,” she said. “I was scared to go out.”

Claiming a cast member from South Africa had pulled her aside during the event, she said: “He looked at me, and he’s just like light.

“He said, ‘I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison’.”

‘Of course, she knows she’s no Mandela’

The interviewer, Allison P Davis, followed the anecdote with her own interpretation of why the Duchess has raised it, explaining: “Of course, she knows she’s no Mandela, but perhaps even telling me this story is a mode of defence, because if you are a symbol for all that is good and charitable, how can anybody find you objectionable, how can anybody hate you?”

Nevertheless, it caused widespread ridicule in the press and on social media.

Zwelivelile Mandela, a member of the South African National Assembly and the tribal chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, asked the public to think deeper about the world of the anti-apartheid leader.

“Every day there are people who want to be Nelson Mandela, either comparing themselves with him or wanting to emulate him,” he told MailOnline.

“But before people can regard themselves as Nelson Mandelas, they should be looking into the work that he did and be able to be champions and advocates of the work that he himself championed.”

He added the celebration of his grandfather’s freedom represented more than a marriage to a “white prince”.

“We are still bearing scars of the past. But they [the celebrations] were a product of the majority of our people being brought out onto the streets to exercise the right of voting for the first time.

“He spoke for oppressed minorities, children and women and protracting the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie Mandela after his release from prison in 1990 - Rex Features
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie Mandela after his release from prison in 1990 – Rex Features

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited South Africa on one of their official overseas tours between their 2018 wedding and leaving the working Royal Family less than two years later.

In 2019, the visit was billed as “their first official tour as a family”, with a four-month-old Archie Mountbatten-Windsor travelling with them.

On the final day, the Sussexes met Graça Machel, widow of the late Nelson Mandela.

In the short official meeting Mrs Machel said: “It’s wonderful meeting you. I’m sure we’re going to be working together in the future. I can feel the vibe.”

Earlier this year, the Duke of Sussex delivered a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York in honour of Nelson Mandela International Day, telling an audience: “On my wall, and in my heart every day, is an image of my mother and Mandela meeting in Cape Town in 1997.”

Then, he described Mandela as “a man who had endured the very worst of humanity – vicious racism and state-sponsored brutality. A man who had lost 27 years with his children and family that he would never get back”.

Published by anthonyhayble

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