24 July 2017

Ramlakan book on final days withdrawn – Starr Fm

A controversial new book about the last days of former South African President Nelson Mandela has been withdrawn by the publisher.

Mandela’s family had complained that the book, written by his doctor of almost 10 years, contained personal details.

The publisher said it had pulled the book “out of respect” for the family.

It added that the author had told them Mr Mandela’s family had asked for the book to be written.

The author, Dr Vejay Ramlakan, said he had received permission to write the book Mandela’s Last Years, but did not say specifically from whom.

On Friday, Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel was considering legal action against the book, accusing Dr Ramlakan of breaching patient confidentiality.

The book is reported to expose “undignified” episodes at the end of his life, as well as family squabbles.

But a statement from Penguin Random House South Africa said it was “meant to portray Nelson Mandela’s courage and strength until the very end of his life and was in no way intended to be disrespectful”.

“However, given the statements from family members we have decided to withdraw the book.”

No further copies of the book are to be issued.

Billed as the “true story of Nelson Mandela’s final journey”, the book was released to coincide with Mandela Day on 18 July. Episodes related by Dr Ramlakan in the book include:

  • that an ambulance taking Mandela to hospital in the middle of the night broke down in a cloud of smoke and he was forced to wait 30 minutes for a replacement
  • that it was his second wife Winnie, not Graca Machel, who was with him when he died
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