South Africa’s latest reality stars: they’re the granddaughters of global icon, former President Nelson Mandela.
The program is aimed at “highlighting the next generation of this unique South African family, giving viewers a glimpse into their daily lives, their tight-knit family life, their conflicts and personal aspirations”.
But while the women will be followed around their homes by cameras, the 93-year-old former South African president, now residing in his birthplace of Qunu, will not be participating.
The program possibly will air in the United States starting in January, said David Manaway, who is married to one of Mandela‘s granddaughters involved in the production. It hasn’t been announced on what channel it will appear, with Manaway saying only “negotiations” are ongoing.
“We’re definitely not the African Kardashians,” Dorothy Adjoa Amuah said Thursday at a press conference announcing the show (via South Africa’s Mail & Guardian Online).
A 27-year old socialite with a law degree, Amuah, is the youngest of the three granddaughters featured in the show. Dorothy has a law degree and MBA from Monaco. She works in the luxury brand market. She lives with her brother and dog, Pan. Amuah, who is the granddaughter of the late Evelyn Mandela, Nelson‘s first wife, whom he divorced in 1957.
“We are exposing Africa for what it is … with a new middle class of intellectuals … contributing to the economy.”
Amuah will be joined by Swati Dlamini, 32, and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, 34, are granddaughters of Mandela‘s other ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Zaziwe is married to David Manaway, an American businessman she met while studying psychology at Clark Atlanta University, and has two children (a 10-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter), and another child due in January. She is involved in a family business, Mandela Dlamini Associates, and wants to launch a clothing line.
Swati is a single mother with a 3-year-old daughter. She works in the communications field, as well as in setting up a charitable foundation focused on housing, education and health, according to show producers.
“The show will be about our lives as young, black women … We’re not wearing ‘I’m a Mandela‘ T-shirts,” Swati, told reporters in Johannesburg.
Dlamini and her older sister Dlamini-Manaway, and Amuah said the show would look at their roles as mothers and career women. They were all raised in Boston but returned to South Africa to join for business.
The show will be produced by South Africa‘s New Vision Pictures and Out of Africa Entertainment and US producer Rick Leed.
The filmmakers promise the reality series will simultaneously honor the Mandela legacy and strike bold new ground. “They clearly have a great love [for each other]. This may be part storytelling, part reality, except the story we are telling is real … it’s not going to detract from the dignity of Nelson Mandela,” Producer Rick Leed told the Mail and Guardian.
And series director Graeme Swanepoel adds, “This is about three women breaking away from the Mandela legacy to find their own feet.”
The show will also feature other cousins, but not their parents and grandparents.
In 2010, Mandela lost one of his great granddaughters, Zindzi Mandela, in a tragic car accident. He has nine great grandchildren.
The description of the show describes all three women as “refreshingly authentic” and “positive role models to women all over the world.” The Mandela family supports “the right for their children to choose their own destiny and their own path,” the Cutting Edge release said.