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Did Mandela really die in June 2013?

Updated on December 20, 2013

Nelson Mandela



The world awoke to the news that beloved former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, had passed away. The 5th of December would be ingrained in the minds of all forever but was it really the date that Mandela died? Is it possible that the announcement of his death on 5th December was all just a big lie and why?

We need to analyze what condition Mandela was in up to his death and why there were conflicting reports. They weren’t minor discrepancies. They were eyebrow-raising ones.


Mandela was admitted into hospital on the 8th of June for a recurring lung infection. His condition seesawed from seriously critical to “doing very well”. On the 26th of June, an elder in the Mandela clan, Napilisi Mandela, announced that Mandela was on life-support. It was on this date that the real controversy starts. On that date, according to the Las Vegas Guardian Express, Mandela was taken off life support. Medically, no one survives that after 24 hours. It is for this reason that rumours started about the government keeping this a secret.

According to a court document, the Mandela family was advised by a doctor to give consent to switch off his life support. But friend of Mandela, Denis Goldberg, denied this ever happened. Furthermore, the court documents from June 26 state that Mandela was in a permanent vegetative state which the family again denies. In fact doctors who said that Mandela was in a vegetative state were compelled to by law to retract their statement. It would appear to me that the family overreacted. It’s hardly defamation.


Rumours were fueled when the media reported that relatives of Mandela had visited his gravesite on June 25th. In the Xhosa tradition, family visit a gravesite when they sense that a member may soon join the ancestors or to request the ancestors spare a dying person. Other than the fact that the United Democratic Movement (UDF) leader Bantu Holomisa claimed the purpose of the gathering was to brief the elders on Mandela’s condition, one could argue that the gathering at the grave site was in compliance with the above custom. However, this is another custom that requires relatives to wear a red blanket at the grave-site once a relative has died. This is precisely what Mandela’s daughter did during the visit to Qunu, the village where Mandela grew up, in June. It is strong evidence that Mandela had died then. Another red flag that Holomisa failed to mention that the two hours after the Mandela family and government officials met at the family home in Qunu, a mechanical grave digger arrived at the planned grave site of Mandela. Even though Obama was meant to visit Mandela when he came to South Africa at the end of June, he was not permitted to see him.


One theory is to take South Africa’s eyes off the Zuma Scandal. President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has been accused of splurging R210million of public money to fund his security upgrade of his house.

The Democratic Alliance, the ANC’s opponent, has taken this matter to court and the Western Cape High Court has ruled that the DA’s bid for a report on the upgrade is urgent. The application will be heard in February 2014. The report has already been delayed in the past. Nelson Mandela’s death will surely postpone the release of the report. The ANC, Zuma’s party, is hoping they can stave it off until at least after the presidential elections in 2014. The Democratic Alliance no doubt will want this report to discourage votes for the ANC.

Another reason why the ANC could like the public to think Mandela died in December is because it would be fresher in the minds of South Africans. No doubt this adulation of Mandela would want voters to be associated with the party he once lead and never condemned.

There could be other reasons more insidious for the deception. At the moment I don’t know what they could really be. One thing that is indisputable is that where there is smoke there is fire.


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