One of Nelson Mandela’s grandsons has slammed Meghan Markle for comparing her royal wedding to his grandfather being freed from prison.
Meghan, 41, said during a recent interview with The Cut that someone once told her the public reactions to her marriage to Prince Harry were comparable to the joy at Nelson “Madiba” Mandela’s freedom.
Markle said she was attending the 2019 premiere of the live-action version of “The Lion King” in London when a South African cast member from the film pulled her aside.
“He looked at me, and he’s just like light. He said, ‘I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison,'” Meghan recalled.
Reacting, Mandela’s grandson said Meghan’s wedding cannot be compared to his grandfather’s freedom from prison after 27 years.
Zwelivelile Mandela told the DailyMail: “Madiba’s celebration was based on overcoming 350 years of colonialism with 60 years of a brutal apartheid regime in South Africa.”
He added: “It cannot be equated to as the same.”
Zwelivelile, 48, shared that he was surprised by Markle’s recent comments.
He said that South Africans dancing in the streets for his grandfather’s release in 1990 after 27 years in prison was more important and more serious than Meghan’s marriage “to a white prince.”
He said: “We are still bearing scars of the past. But [Nelson Mandela’s celebrations were] a product of the majority of our people being brought out onto the streets to exercise the right of voting for the first time.”
A number of South Africans also took offense at Meghan’s statement.
The hashtag #VoetsekMeghan even started trending on Twitter in South Africa. “Voetsek” is an Afrikaans word meaning “go away” or “get lost.”
“No one was rejoicing in the streets of South Africa when she got married. For her to imply that it was the same as when President Mandela was released is the utmost disrespect,” one person tweeted.
“I cannot believe that race baiter had the gall, the bloody liberty and the absolute audacity to equate her pathetic over priviledge life to the suffering and release of Nelson Mandela,” another tweeted.