Mandela Book Withdrawn After Widow Outrage

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According to publisher, Penguin Random House, a new controversial book detailing Nelson Mandela’s last days has been withdrawn after it was condemned by his outraged widow, Graca Machel.

The book by Mandela’s physician, Vejay Ramlakan, was released last week to coincide with the late South African anti-apartheid leader’s birthday, 18 July, which is marked each year as Mandela Day.

The publisher said it had pulled the book “out of respect” for the family.

It added that the author had told them Mr Mandela’s family had asked for the book to be written.

Dr Ramlakan was Mandela’s physician for nearly 10 years

The author, Dr Vejay Ramlakan, said he had received permission to write the book Mandela’s Last Years, but did not say specifically from whom.

“We received permission from the family,” the author told local television eNCA before the withdrawal. “All parties who needed to be consulted were consulted.”

The book has revealed several undignified episodes at the end of Mandela’s life as well as bitter family squabbles over his care and legacy, prompting fury from his widow Graca Machel who threatened legal action.

It also revealed that an ambulance transporting Mandela to hospital during his final months caught fire on the highway forcing him to wait for a backup and that it was his second wife Winnie, not Graca Machel, who was with him when he died

Machel accused Ramlakan, a former military surgeon, of breaching patient confidentiality.

The book detailed how Mandela regurgitated blood due to a lung infection and disclosed that after his death at the age of 95, a spy camera was found in the morgue where his body was held.

“The story of Madiba’s last years is actually, in a sense, more impressive than when he was a fit human being,” he added, paying tribute to his “unconquerable fortitude”.

Mandela, often known by his clan name Madiba, died on December 5 2013, at the age of 95.

In a statement from Penguin Random House South Africa said it 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.”

Penguin Random House did not say how many copies of the book had already been sold.

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