Ramlakan’s Mandela’s Last Years‚ published in July by Penguin Random House‚ was billed as “the true story of Nelson Mandela’s final journey”.
It claimed Winnie Madikizela-Mandela — not Graça Machel — was at Mandela’s bedside when he died‚ and gave details of the day Mandela stopped breathing at his Houghton home six months before his death on December 5‚ 2013.
These and other previously undisclosed details — including an account of how an ambulance transporting a gravely ill Mandela to hospital caught alight — prompted a furious Machel to threaten Ramlakan with legal action.
Although Ramlakan told the Sunday Times at the time that he had the family’s blessing‚ Machel said she had taken issue with the book because it breached doctor-patient confidentiality. She said the work was “an assault on the trust and dignity of my late husband”.
Matheba’s memoir‚ Bonang From A to B‚ was pulled by BlackBird Books in August after a storm of criticism over its grammatical and factual errors.