I have ‘love and respect’ for Malema and so did my parents, says Zindzi Mandela

The daughter of former president Nelson Mandela and struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – Zindzi Mandela – took to Twitter on Thursday to respond to someone who used the platform to provide her with unsolicited advice.

“Can I advise you on this,” began the Twitter user.

“Stop flirting with [the EFF]. [You] are undoing the Mandela legacy. Rather try charity and volunteering at NPOs,” he continued.

“I don’t flirt with [the EFF]. I have deep, pure unconditional love and respect for [Julius Malema] and that won’t stop. Mandela Legacy? Are you talking about both my parents who loved and respected CIC [commander-in-chief]?” was Mandela’s response.

Speculation about which political party is currently supported by Zindzi Mandela and her sister Zenani began after two photos showing the pair wearing an EFF cap were posted by EFF national chairperson advocate Dali Mpofu during the campaign preceding the May 8 elections.

The person “advising” Zindzi was reacting to a tweet in which she posted pictures of herself dressed in ANC regalia, in an indication that despite her love for Malema, she appears not to be ready to leave the party of her parents.

Following the Mpofu pictures, Malema told EWN that his party’s leadership had not been attempting to convince the Mandela sisters to join the EFF.

“I don’t know [if they are joining the EFF], I think the two and Dali can explain, I think they were just embracing one another as family,” he said.

“They were having a private moment, it really doesn’t mean anything, it shouldn’t give anyone palpitations. Today Mam Zenani is wearing ANC colours, there shouldn’t be an issue out of family members fooling around, playing with each other, taking pictures. It was just a lighter moment among family members and we shouldn’t think [highly] of [the] exchanging of caps.”

Mpofu has been the source of persistent rumours that he had an affair with Madikizela-Mandela when he was younger, while Nelson was imprisoned.

These rumours have been denied by both Mpofu and Malema.

Zindzi’s comment about love and respect shown by her parents towards Malema is certainly true of her mother, with the pair enjoying a close relationship both before and after the EFF leader’s departure from the ANC. Malema has in turn been vocal about his belief that the ANC sold Madikizela-Mandela out, including at the memorial service for the late “mother of the nation”.

During his speech, Malema said that those who had sold out and abandoned Madikizela-Mandela were among the crowd. He referred to them as the UDF (United Democratic Front) cabal.

Malema said he did not know how to greet those who had “betrayed” her, pointing them out in the crowd.

READ MORE: EFF lashes out at ANC, media while honouring Madikizela-Mandela

“All those who resigned from the [ANC] Women’s League NEC because they said they didn’t want to be led by a criminal, they are here,” he said.

He ended his speech by demanding that the Cape Town International Airport be named after the stalwart.

The relationship between Nelson Mandela and Malema appears to be a bit more complicated, with Malema having expressed the view that while he didn’t think Mandela sold out, he did think the icon only took the country to the brink of freedom and that economic emancipation would still need to be achieved.

Malema’s criticism of the late icon led to Mandla Mandela on behalf of the royal house of Mandela saying the EFF leader had “made trash can politics his personal brand” in 2015.

It is, however, entirely possible that Zindzi Mandela is correct that the late president had “love and respect” for Malema while alive, since Malema was a rising star within Mandela’s party, the ANC, until 2012, a year before the former president’s passing.

(Background reporting, Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni)

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.