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The 70-year-old woman who claims to be Mandela’s love child has accused Machel of being a ‘gold-digger who is lying’.

Late former president Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, has now broken her silence, revealing how her husband refused to meet the latest woman who claims to be his love child.


Speaking through her spokesperson, Vimla Naidoo, Machel confirmed that a meeting between herself and Lydia Mahakoe, 70, of Midvaal indeed took place. Mahakoe is the daughter of Mandela’s alleged then young lover, Dorah Cheleki-Makgaka, who was a member of the ANC Women’s League in Dube, Soweto.

Mahakoe is the third woman in six years to claim Mandela fathered her, and The Citizen reported that Machel was accused of frustrating her efforts to meet the former president. In a written response to questions by The Citizen, Naidoo said: “Mrs Machel confirms that she met with Mrs Mahakoe in 2008. She spoke to Mr Mandela about her request and gave him the photos from Mrs Mahakoe. Mr Mandela was not interested and refused to meet with Mrs Mahakoe.”

“This woman (Machel) is lying. Why is she only revealing this now after his death? Why didn’t she tell me while Tata (Mandela) was still alive that he did not want to see me? She kept quiet from 2008 to now. Tata knows the truth and took care of me while I was a baby. She is lying,” said Mahakoe.An angry Mahakoe yesterday retaliated by labelling Machel a “gold-digger” who married various presidents: the late Mozambican president Samora Machel, and later Mandela.

Graça must be so happy that she and her children ate [her former husband Samora] Machel’s wealth, and now Tata’s wealth, while his kids are struggling. I don’t care what she says Tata said. She must return the pictures I gave her,” Mahakoe said. She had earlier toldThe Citizen that Machel failed to return the photographs and they had been her only copies.

Naidoo said that Machel also dismissed the allegations that she prevented Mahakoe from speaking to Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Mahakoe had claimed that Machel cautioned her not to contact Madikizela-Mandela, claiming that Madikizela-Mandela would “tamper” with the paternity test to make it appear that Mahakoe was not his daughter.

In response, Machel’s spokesperson said: “Mrs Machel never said that Mrs Madikizela-Mandela would tamper with any paternity results. Based on Mrs Mahakoe’s age, it was clear the only person who could provide any information on this matter was Mr Mandela.

“Neither Mrs Madikizela-Mandela, nor Mrs Machel were a part of Mr Mandela’s life at that time [when Mahakoe was conceived], so only he could verify her claim and act on it. Mrs Mahakoe does not need Mrs Machel’s permission to conduct DNA tests. She is free to approach Mr Mandela’s children to do these tests,” said Naidoo.


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