'How Do You Write on Death When You Haven't Experienced It?' ... Nelson Mandela to His Son-in-Law

By Commey, Pusch | New African, December 2013 | Go to article overview

'How Do You Write on Death When You Haven't Experienced It?' ... Nelson Mandela to His Son-in-Law


Commey, Pusch, New African


Dr Kwame Amuah (pictured), Nelson ivandela's eldest son-in-law, the husband of his eldest surviving child Makaziwe Vlandela-Amuah, is a man of many parts who comes from Ghana. A nuclear scientist who spent years in academia before going into business, this Harvard alumni is now a big-time business baron with interests in many spheres. He says having an association with Mr Nelson Mandela comes with a cross", and his "cross" has been a sustained vilification in sections of the South African print media. Our Johannesburg correspondent, Pusch Commey, had a wide-ranging interview with Dr Amuah, chairman of OSR Holdings. Here are excerpts.

Q | This is the first interview you have granted to a major publication. Are you media-shy?

I just happen to be a very private person. I have always shunned the limelight. Pretty much every journalist I have ever met has asked for an interview in one form or the other. The answer has always been no. Eventually, I suppose and per experience, the questions will switch to Mr Mandela and how it feels to be associated with him. The question irritates me for a bunch of reasons, but chief among them is the presumption it makes about me as a public figure. I am not a public figure and have no desire to be one. I agreed to your request for an interview for the simple reason that I share the philosophical bent of your publication and that for once there is an echo of souls.

Q | You have been married to Dr Maka-ziwe Mandela, Nelson Mandela's oldest surviving child, for several years. How did you meet? Yes, we have known each other and been married for over three decades. Maki and I first met through a friend in common in Cofimvaba, in the Eastern Cape during the days of apartheid. The rest is history, isn't it?

Q | What is your relationship with your father-in-law, Nelson Mandela, like?

This is a question I am often asked and I don't think I have answered it adequately to anyone. It keeps cropping up. In many ways those of us who have been privileged to be part of Mr Mandela's life can answer with certainty. Tata [Mandela's nickname] is a complex character who has learnt the art of containing himself. Very rarely does he show public feelings. We must understand that Tata is of the old stock which holds the adage that a true leader must not show public feelings. Old habits die hard.

To answer your question, I have had a reasonably good relationship with Tata, characterised by mutual respect. We have both had good and bad moments (with respect to my late brother-in-law Makgatho). To be associated with the family for three decades should tell you that there is an echo of souls between a son-in--law and a father-in-law.

Q: Were there intellectual conversations as peers in that department?

You bet. We have had many intellectual debates on issues of cosmology, the existence of God, life after death, and the resilience of the human spirit. Once when I told him I was writing a book on death, he retorted: "How do you write on death when you haven't experienced it? You better write on love as it is something we all experience". When I answered that "love is an abstract concept and that it is an illusion", he said: "So Isaac, you don't love my daughter." Quickly, I retorted: "Tata I do, and that is why we have been in love for all these years." "You believe in love after all," he said.

Q | What were his political views in the transition to democracy?

Tata has been consistent in his political views in as far as I can remember. My first face-to-face encounter with him was in 1983 at Porlsmoor Maximum Security Prison. And while conversations with family members were devoid of politics during visitation periods, he would always make it clear why he was behind bars. It was to emancipate his people. And frankly his political views have remained as constant as Einstein's constant.

Q | There has been debate on Mandela's Pan-African credentials. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'How Do You Write on Death When You Haven't Experienced It?' ... Nelson Mandela to His Son-in-Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.