There has been way too many questions and criticism as to why Mandla Mandela should marry a Muslim. But then, how can it be a cultural clash when they now have a common ground, which is faith. With the different cultures, they are celebrating their diversity which brings them together instead.
And I tell you, this answer really sealed Mandla’s marriage to his little known bride. And over the weekend, the happy couple added another feather to their love-filled cap.
The royal family has announced on Monday that Mandla’s new bride has been rechristened. According to the family, she will be known as Nkosikazi Nosekeni Rabia Mandela.
Confirming the development, the family’s press release said:
“In a ceremony on Saturday‚ Rabia received the name‚ Nosekeni‚ from the Royal House of Mandela.
Nosekeni is the name of former President Nelson Mandela’s mother‚ the third wife of Chief Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela
On Sunday‚ traditional rituals were followed by a banquet for 300 members of the community‚ traditional leaders‚ elders‚ family and friends.”
Mandela and his bride Rabia Clarke were welcomed by the AbaThembu community in Mvezo Komkhulu at the weekend.
Mandla’s very little-known Muslim bride is believed to come from Pineland. The blushing bride got married to Mvezo king last month in Cape Town.
The marriage prompted the traditional ruler’s conversion to Islam, which many frowned at. Traditional leaders in South Africa also expressed “disquiet” over the ‘strange’ conversion.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders in South Africa (Contralesa) told the BBC that being Muslim could affect Mandla’s ability to uphold Xhosa traditions.
However, 42-year-old Mandla has never had a blissful marriage, even before his marriage to Rabia. He had encountered diverse marital conflicts, leading him to walk down the aisle with three women and now Rabia, making them four.
He married Tando Mabunu-Mandela in 2004 and they are reportedly still entangled in a bitter divorce.
He wedded Anais Grimaud, from Reunion, in a traditional ceremony in 2010. The marriage was annulled after reports that she had an affair with his younger brother.
Mandla then married Mbali Makhathini in 2014. The marriage was equally annulled by a court after his first wife opened charges of bigamy.
And finally in 2016, he wedded Rabia Clarke in a Cape Town mosque after converting to Islam.
Mandla seems to be contending with many negations to his decision to marry Rabia and convert to Islam. In a statement after his wedding, Mandla extended his heartfelt gratitude to Rabia’s parents, her extended family and the Muslim community, for welcoming him into their hearts.
He said “Although Rabia and I were raised in different cultural and religious traditions, our coming together reflects what we have in common: We are South Africans,” he is quoted as saying at the ceremony.
Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela is the chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and the grandson of Nelson Mandela. He graduated from Rhodes University with a degree in Politics in 2007.