By Shu’eib Hassen
CAPE TOWN, (AA): The grandson of former South African late president Nelson Mandela has married Rabia Clarke in a traditional Muslim Nikah ceremony held in Cape Town. He converted to Islam two months ago.
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela released the following statement Sunday evening. “I am honoured and delighted to announce my marriage to Rabia Clarke, in Cape Town, on 6 February 2016. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Rabia’s parents, her extended family and the Muslim community, for welcoming me into their hearts.”
Influential Islamic leader Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels, who wedded the two, informed Anadolu Agency that Mandla embraced Islam two months ago. Mandla is currently the Xhosa traditional chief of Mvezo, Nelson Mandela’s birthplace, while Rabia Clarke is from a Muslim household in a Southern suburb of Cape Town.
“Although Rabia and I were raised in different cultural and religious traditions, our coming together reflects what we have in common: We are South Africans,” Mandla said.
Hotel staff were sworn to secrecy and were not allowed to speak of the wedding. Little is known of the new bride.
In 2013, family disputes raised to the surface only months before Nelson Mandela’s death. The feud erupted and led to questioning of Mandla’s leadership legitimacy as head of clan.
Mandla has been married three times previously. In 2004, he married Tando Mabuna-Mandela in a civil ceremony.
He is still legally married to her and has been in a longstanding divorce struggle centered on community property disputes.
In 2010, he married Anais Grimaud in a traditional ceremony. Three years later he accused his wife of having cheated on him with his younger brother, Mbuso Mandela and their marriage was annulled.
His third marriage to Mbali Makhathini was declared null and void by the courts in 2014.
[Photo: Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela with widow of former President Nelson Mandela, Garca Machel (Photo: DOC/ Creative Commons)]