This just in from the strange intersection between historical relevance and cheap TV programming: Nelson Mandela’s family is getting their own reality show.
Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid legend, lends his name and members of his family to Being Mandela, a new series premiering this Sunday on COZI TV. The reality show specifically centers on Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini, the 30ish-year-old granddaughters of Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Fortunately (for now, anyway), the 94-year-old former South African president will not appear in the series. However, his controversial ex-wife “Big Mommy” does, and she seems to really enjoy the spotlight, reports MSN.
The sisters insist that they’re not trading their family name for stardom.
“We get asked this question a lot. Is this not going to tarnish the name and is this not going to be bad for the name?” Swati Dlamini said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But our grandparents have always said to us, this is our name too, and we can do what we think is best fitting with the name, as long as we treat it with respect and integrity.”
They also say that Mandela will definitely be tuning in. Apparently, the Nobel winner is fond of reality programming. “You’ll be interested to know that he loves Toddlers and Tiaras,” said Swati, laughing. “Because of the kids! He just loves children,” Zaziwe added.
Despite all of the press and excitement, I can’t help but feel a little depressed about Being Mandela.
It’s kind of sad that the day-in, day-out activities of Nelson Mandela and co. will soon be on the same level as the irritating ingrates on Bad Girls Club and the forced melodrama of any of the Real Housewives programs. Sadder still, to me, is that Nelson Mandela’s historic legacy could ultimately be reduced to “Oh, he’s the old guy on Being Mandela, right?” should he ever cameo on the show.
Still, I’ll reserve judgment until the show comes on. What do you think of Being Mandela? Will it be good exposure for his family, or potentially tarnishing?