The few people who were able to get a copy of the new book on Nelson Mandela’s last few years could be in possession of a collector’s item.
Several people are willing to pay an arm and a leg just to get their hands on the controversial book. Many South Africans as well as people outside the country have offered to pay huge sums for the book.
Dalena Kalambo told TimesLive he bought the book for just under R300 before it was taken off the shelf, but has received numerous offers, with some people offering him up to R9 000.
Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, said she had not given permission for the book to be written, and other members of the family, including grandson Mandla Mandela, said they felt the book violated doctor-patient confidentiality.
Mandela’s former doctor – the man who cared for him in the last seven years of his life – claims he had permission “from the family” to write a book on the struggle icon’s last years.
Former SANDF surgeon-general Dr Vejay Ramlakan will not, however, not reveal which family members had granted him permission.
He said: “I would not like to disclose the dynamic of the family and who requested us.
“I think it is irrelevant. We have said that we received permission from the family.”
When asked whether Machel had been consulted in the writing of the book, Ramlakan said: “Let me say all parties who needed to be consulted were consulted, all from a point of view of publishing, [we got] advice from publishers and lawyers as well.”
“The interest is from internationals since most people have caught wind of the story,” he said.
Kalembo bought the book on Saturday morning.
“I was curious to read the untold truth about Mandela’s last year, not so much his medical conditions, but more how everyone was exploiting his frail status and how his medical team was coping with keeping him in a healthy state for some of this public display.”
“I have read sections of the book, and there’s nothing we didn’t already know, but for the most part, a lot of things have been given context. i.e. Mandela’s ambulance getting stuck on the highway,” he said.