Mandela’s doctor a ‘loser’ who wanted to exploit my grandfather’s name: Ndaba Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s grandson‚ Ndaba‚ has lashed out at Dr Vejay Ramlakan over his now-recalled book Mandela’s Last Years‚ saying the former military doctor was a “loser” who was using Madiba’s name to make money.

Nelson Mandela’s grandson‚ Ndaba‚ has lashed out at Dr Vejay Ramlakan over his now-recalled book Mandela’s Last Years‚ saying the former military doctor was a “loser” who was using Madiba’s name to make money.Picture FILE

Ndaba also claimed that the family was not consulted over the book as per statements by Ramlakan and the publisher‚ Penguin Random House.

“The family was not consulted; that is a lie. He should mention who and when he did this consultation. I [only] heard from people that read the news about the book. I didn’t know anything about it until then. So my reaction was‚ ‘Oh there goes another person trying make money off my grandfather.’ What a loser‚” said Ndaba in a WhatsApp conversation.

His explosive comments come as Penguin Random House on Monday pulled Mandela’s Last Years off the shelves exactly a week after it first went on sales – and this as criticism from Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel‚ executers of his estate and the defence force over the contents of the book.

A few copies of the book remain in circulation‚ and owners have already begun receiving offers from people who want to buy the book at inflated prices.

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The comments also come as the Nelson Mandela Foundation said it was compiling a list of “inaccuracies” in the book.

Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said the list “will be published in a day or two.”

The foundation also welcomed the move to pull the book off the shelves. Hatang said they‚ too‚ were in the dark about who had given Ramlakan permission to pen a book detailing intimate medical details Mandela’s life.

“We don’t want to speculate‚ but we think it should be the doctor who tells us where he got this from‚” he said.

While Ramalakan did not return messages seeking comment – and Penguin Random House also refused to weigh in on the growing criticism – Ndaba said the family felt “betrayed”.

“Hopefully people will still respect the man that he was and not look at him as patient. I’m happy to hear [the book] has been recalled. I think the man’s licence of being a doctor should be revoked‚ or at least investigated… seeing that he clearly violated the Hippocratic Oath‚” he said.

Although he would not comment on Tuesday‚ in an earlier interview with TimesLIVE‚ Ramlakan said: “The first requirement was the family’s blessing. It came about at their request as well… when they had occasions to thank us for all the efforts over the years. It came very soon after Madiba had passed on‚ about three or four months.”

Penguin Random House spokeswoman Surita Joubert said on Tuesday: “We are not giving any further comment aside from yesterday’s statement.”

In that statement‚ the publisher said it had decided to “immediately withdraw the book Mandela’s Last Years from the trade‚ and no further copies will be issued. The publisher has done so out of respect for the late Mr Mandela’s family. Penguin Random House SA accepted Mandela’s Last Years for publication after the author Vejay Ramlakan advised the publisher that he had been requested by Mr Mandela’s family to publish the book.

“The book was meant to portray Nelson Mandela’s courage and strength until the very end of his life and was in no way intended to be disrespectful. However‚ given the statements from family members‚ we have decided to withdraw the book.”

Mandela’s eldest granddaughter‚ Ndileka Mandela‚ said Ramlakan’s book compromised Madiba’s dignity.

“It was unfair‚ disrespectful‚ and lacking of honour of the good doctor to share such intimate details only he was entrusted with. All being said‚ out of sheer dignity and respect‚ it would be informing if Dr Ramlakan could share what his conscience was telling him‚” she said in an exclusive interview.

Ndileka said she was not aware of the book until a family member read to her some of its contents.

“My reaction was that of hurt and disappointment that a person and one of my grandfather’s doctors could breach the Oath of Hippocrates which is a gross violation of doctor-patient confidentiality. The parts read to me by the family member that called me constitutes a breach of confidentiality.

“Discussions have taken place amongst family members and of course our sentiments are public knowledge. We have‚ through different media platforms‚ declared support for Mum Graca’s action to go the legal route. We are very content that her media statement and announcement was effective to inform the publishers decision to pull the publication off the shelves‚” she said.

– TimesLIVE




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