Nelson Mandela’s Granddaughters Are Getting A Reality Show


So, it’s official. Reality television has taken over the entire world… and I’m kinda glad my mother isn’t here to see this, LOL. For the record, my parents took me to South Africa and Zimbabwe when I was eight because they were doing research. Both were professors in African and African-American history and I was raised to believe a lot of things– one being that Nelson Mandela is basically a deity. So when I learned that his granddaughter’s were getting a reality show, I couldn’t help but wonder what my Mom would think. But it’s happening. And I need to mentally prepare, so click inside for more!

Complex has the story:

The Hollywood Reporter has just broken the news that Cozi TV, a newly-launched network from NBC, has just given the green light to a reality series starring the granddaughters of Nelson Mandela, titled Being Mandela. Starring sisters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini, the series will take a look at the daily lives of the South African duo as they deal with their family, their careers, and some personal drama along the way.

The girls are the daughters of Zenani Mandela Dlamini, Neslon and Winnie Mandela’s daughter, and Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini, a prince of Swaziland. Though the girls were born in South Africa, they spent a lot of their time in the United States while Mandela was in exile during their younger days. They now own a clothing line called Long Walk to Freedom.

For longtime followers of Mandela, the show will feature interesting historical bits like the girls visiting Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for almost two decades, as well as showing them going shark cage diving, of course. Being Mandela will debut on February 10 on Cozi at 9 p.m. ET.

And here’s what the sisters said in a joint statement:

“This show is about us and our lives — both as individuals and as members of the Mandela family,” the sisters said in a joint statement. “It offers a window on how we far we have come to re-establish our lives. We are excited to share the story of our lives, and hopefully viewers will be able to appreciate how universal the human story is.”

Honestly? I really do want to watch this! I hope that there really are lots of ‘interesting historical bits.’ The truth is, there are a lot of trash reality shows (many that I, admittedly, watch), but there are also good, quality ones and I think I can be optimistic about this being one of them. The Mandelas have a powerful story and it could turn out to be a positive thing, for these young women to share their experience.

What do you guys think? Will any of you be tuning in to Being Mandela?

P.S. Zaziwe and Swati are pictured above with their two small children, and their mother, who’s standing directly behind Nelson Mandela.

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  • nicole

    i so hope this doesnt turn into a disaster…

  • Krissy

    I really hope they do this with class! Personally, I think it would be really interesting to see young people with Mandela in mind reflect on their society and how it has changed and evolved over the past few decades. I love seeing slice-of-life docs in settings that are vastly different from my own. However, if this ends up being some kind of Kardashian-act-like-a-brat-to-get-attention type thing, then I think it would be really sad.

    I thought nothing could make me more depressed than the Eastwood reality show, but if this turns tacky I think it could be the most depressing show ever. Mandela’s story is one that should never be cheapened. I am all for it getting re-told, though!

    • Shannon

      Krissy, ‘I thought nothing could make me more depressed than the Eastwood reality show,’ LOL! I KNOW, right? The three times I watched that show, I just wanted to weep. I’d much rather be crying over ‘Million Dollar Baby.’

    • Krissy

      ” I’d much rather be crying over ‘Million Dollar Baby.’”
      LOL! So true!

  • Karen

    Ack! This makes me nervous. I hope it turns out okay! Mandela is the definition of dignity. Reality TV is…the opposite. So, yeah, I’ll just be hoping it doesn’t degrade Mandela somehow. But maybe that would be impossible. Hope hope!

    Shannon, I love that your parents took you to South Africa and Zimbabwe! I was in Zimbabwe in the early 1990s and it has a big place in my heart. And visited South Africa recently.

    • Shannon

      Karen, I wish I could have appreciated it more. But I was so young and we traveled a lot, partly because my parents were a part of the African Studies Association– lots of boring (for me, lol) conferences in lots of amazing places. But I really do look forward to going back again. Where in Zimbabwe were you? We stayed in Harare, and also visited Mutare.

  • blaqfury

    First… I read Cozi as Cosi which immediately made me want their Pesto Tuscan Chicken sandwich and cannot get at this time of night! Darn it!

    But I don’t watch reality television (exception Project Runway and soon the Voice, solely on the power of Usher), but I wish they’d do a docuseries instead of calling it a reality show… that just degrades it. I most likely won’t watch, but I hope that you will blog any interesting information on it.

    • Shannon

      blaqfury, I’ll definitely check it out and let y’all know what I think.

  • Bjorn Watlington

    This is so sad. There seems to be trend with politcal offspring to cash in on their legacy with so called carreers in entertainment in South Africa right now. Bear in mind it was their great grand or grand parents that struggled, not them. They have lived a life of priviledge – dont forget at the end of the day they ARE Swazi princesses so they have never been without money or struggle or left wanting. Its just another sad attempt at being validated as “celebrity” because with all their fortune growing up they still couldnt amount to anything,

    • Shannon

      Bjorn Watlington, I was under the impression that they were in exile in the US for some time, so I don’t know that they’ve lived a completely peachy life. Still, I hear what you’re saying. I’ll have to wait and see the show to judge.

  • emily

    Shannon, I love you, but change “hear” to “here” in the 1st sentence.

    • emily

      … aaand my comment got cut off. There’s supposed to be a heart for Shannon, ’cause word slippage can happen.

      Also, agree with everything here, esp Bjorn Watlington. I have nothing of substance to add other than look at Nelson Mandela’s slippers! I love seeing someone so dignified in a big pair of fuzzy slippers. That is all.

    • Shannon

      emily, good eye! On the typo and the fuzzy slippers– SO glad you pointed that out!!!