The Nelson Mandela estate’s executors and his grandson Mandla distanced themselves from the book, titled “Mandela’s Last Years”, after former First Lady Graca Machel threatened to sue the author‚ Lt.-Gen. Vejay Ramlakan.
Ramlakan, a military physician, was Mandela’s doctor for nearly a decade‚ and Mandela’s relatives argued that the publication breached patient-doctor confidentiality.
Mandla Mandela said the family was “aggrieved” by Ramlakan’s book and gave his “unequivocal support” to Machel’s objection to its publication.
Due to this, on Monday publishers Penguin Random House South Africa (PRHSA) said in a statement the book would immediately be withdrawn “from the trade.”
“No further copies will be issued,” the publishers said, adding that the “publisher has done so out of respect for the late Mr Mandela’s family.”
PRHSA said it accepted Mandela’s Last Years for publication after the author advised the publisher that he had been requested by 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.”
Among the claims Ramlakan makes in the book‚ released a week ago‚ are that it was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela‚ and not Machel‚ who was at Mandela’s bedside when he died.