Nelson Mandela’s Granddaughters Star In New Reality Show, ‘Being Mandela’

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Last year, we learned that two of former South African president Nelson Mandela’s granddaughters were venturing into the reality TV, with their own show on COZI TV. And the show has finally arrived. Titled, ‘Being Mandela’, the new series, invites U.S. viewers into the lives of Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini, the fashionable, 30-something granddaughters of Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Unfortunately, or fortunately for that matter (depends on whom you ask), the 94-year-old does not appear in the series but his controversial ex-wife — “Big Mommy” to her grandchildren — is featured on the show.

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Zaziwe Dlamini-Manawa and her daughter, left, and Swati Dlamini and her daughter, right, their mother, Zenani Mandela Dlamini, and grandfather, Nelson Mandela.

So what’s the skinny on the show? It’s 13-episodes and the show follows them around as they try to carry on the family legacy while juggling motherhood in Johannesburg. The sisters, who spent most of their childhood in exile in the United States, make an emotional visit to the prison on Robben Island where their grandfather spent 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned by South Africa’s white-ruled government. Zaziwe meets the guard who she says smuggled her into prison as a baby so Mandela could meet her. In an interview with the Associated Press, the sisters seem unapologetic about potentially negatively portraying their families famous name. Swati explained:

“We get asked this question a lot. Is this not going to tarnish the name and is this not going to be bad for the name? But our grandparents have always said to us, this is our name too, and we can do what we think is best fitting with the name, as long as we treat it with respect and integrity.”

The 30-minute weekly show premieres on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 9 PM ET. [Associated Press]