An anecdote told by Meghan Markle in a recent magazine interview has been criticized by Nelson Mandela’s grandson for equating the celebrations in South Africa for Meghan and Prince Harry’s marriage to those held in 1990 to mark Mandela’s release from prison.
Zwelivelile ‘Mandla’ Mandela, an African National Congress member of parliament, told the MailOnline on Tuesday that the royal wedding celebrations and those commemorating Mandela’s release from his 27-year political imprisonment “cannot be equated to as the same.”
The comments come as a result of Meghan’s interview with New York magazine The Cut, which was published on Monday and drew criticism in the UK tabloids despite being praised online.
Meghan told journalist Allison P. Davis an anecdote about a conversation she had with a South African performer at the 2019 live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King.
Meghan and Harry both attended the film’s London premiere, which came just two months after the birth of the couple’s first child, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
Following the premiere, Harry was chastised for appearing to tell then-Disney CEO Bob Iger that Meghan would be interested in doing voiceover work for the studio. This was before the couple officially announced their intention to leave their positions as working members of the royal family in 2020.
Meghan stated that the deeper conversation that occurred on the evening of the premiere occurred because she was “scared” of leaving the house after the birth of her son.
“He looked at me, and he’s just like light,” Meghan said of the South African cast member who pulled her aside during the event. ‘I just want you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same way we did when Mandela was released from prison,’ he said.
Mandla Mandela responded to the comment by saying he was “surprised,” adding that “Madiba’s celebration was based on overcoming 350 years of colonialism with 60 years of a brutal apartheid regime in South Africa.” As a result, it cannot be compared.
He went on to say that the Mandela celebrations in South Africa in 1990 were for a more serious reason than Meghan’s marriage to a “white prince.”
This is not the first time a Mandela family member has expressed concern about the former South African prime minister and humanitarian’s struggles being compared to those of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan accompanied her husband Harry to the United Nations in July, where he delivered a keynote address commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day. Following the event, another of the statesman’s grandsons, Ndaba Mandela, stated that the Sussexes’ and his grandfather’s pursuits of “freedom” were “two worlds apart.”
“Obviously, these are very different things,” he said on Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show. “How you define freedom for an individual can be different.” “And perhaps it was a real struggle for them to finally make that decision number one and also to be able to carry it out. Those are obviously two different worlds.”
Meghan has been chastised for the interview, with the Mandela anecdote being one of the most divisive passages. Dan Wootton, a vocal critic of Harry and Meghan, wrote in his Daily Mail column on Monday that the story was “ridiculous,” going on to call the couple tone deaf.
Despite this, the wide-ranging interview has been praised by many online including broadcaster Jasmine Dotiwala who highlighted other key discussion points including Meghan’s claim that her son, Archie, had been called the “N-word” by people who disliked her in Britain.
“The most powerful parts of the film question why she would play nice with people who call her child the N word, as well as “how toxic tabloid culture has torn two families apart.”
Meghan’s interview was released shortly after the launch of her solo podcasting venture in collaboration with Spotify, which is currently topping podcast charts in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The first episode of Archetypes featured a conversation between Meghan and her friend and pro tennis player Serena Williams. The second episode of the podcast, which was released on Tuesday, featured special guest Mariah Carey and examined the term “diva” and how it is applied to women today.