MANDLA Mandela has confirmed he is not the legitimate father of 11-month-old Qheya, who was meant to be the heir of the Royal House of Mandela.
The former ANC MP and grandson of former president Nelson Mandela further revealed that one of his younger brothers was in fact little Qheya’s biological father.
Yesterday, in a statement to The Herald, Mandla Mandela described the pain and humiliation he felt when he discovered the affair between his second bride, Anais Grimaud, and his brother.
The affair between the French teenage bride and one of the Mandela brothers reportedly began less than a month after the couple’s lavish wedding ceremony in the Transkei.
Qheya, who was named by former president Nelson Mandela, was born on September 1 last year.
The couple were married nine months before his birth.
The two went ahead with the wedding despite a court interdict sought by Mandela’s estranged first wife, Tando Mabunu-Mandela, prohibiting them from doing so.
The Mthatha High Court later annulled the marriage, but the two continued to live together at Mvezo Great Place in Mthatha as husband and wife. Less than a year later, Grimaud gave birth to Qheya.
In his statement, sent by Chabo Freddy Pilusa, who often speaks on behalf of the family, Mandela said: "The Mandela family has sent my wife [Grimaud] back to her home after it was discovered that she has been having an affair with one of my brothers.”
According to reports earlier this month Grimaud, 21, had taken her son home to Reunion Island after the couple had a fight – rumours which Mandela’s attorney, Gary Jansen, rubbished.
"I can confirm that this affair [between my brother and wife] resulted in a son that [Grimaud] gave birth to in 2011.
"I can also confirm that DNA tests conducted have confirmed the child is not mine,” Mandela said. Earlier this year Mandela opened a First National Bank trust account in Qheya’s name and, later, allegedly deposited more than R5-million into it.
"Though I am personally hurt by what happened I consider this whole matter a private family matter.
"Nkosikazi Nobubele [Grimaud] is still a wife in my family married in accordance to the abaThembu customs.”
The two families were dealing with the matter, as is required by Xhosa custom, he said.
"My brother’s involvement is also a sensitive family matter that the Mandela family is working on.”
Ndaba Mandela, the older of his two brothers, said it was not his child. The other brother, Mbuso, could not be reached.
"Nobody knows who the father is, but I can confidently confirm it was not me. Mandla told me he was not the father,” Ndaba said. "She [Grimaud] left because of their problems. The child’s paternity was probably one of the main reasons.
"I have never touched her in a physical or sexual way.
"She’s my brother’s wife. I never touched her. I do not know where these allegations that I fathered the child come from.”
Mandla said he was forced to release the statement because his family affairs had become the subject of media speculation.
"I have decided to release this statement so that the public are not fed with endless rumours by peddlers of information claiming to be related to me and my family,” he said.
"I appeal to the media to allow us the space to deal with this sensitive and painful matter privately.”
Pilusa would not comment further, saying only that Mandela had asked him to send the statement because of the rumours.
"He [Mandela] does not want to talk about it,” Pilusa said.
Grimaud, who is believed to be in Reunion, could not be reached for comment. Additional reporting by Siya Boya