Kenyan model to marry Nelson Mandela’s ‘bad boy’ grandson
Speculation is rife that a Kenyan family may soon be the in-laws of icon Nelson Mandela if the planned wedding between a Nairobi beauty queen and a grandson of South Africa’s first black president goes ahead.
The Nairobian has learnt that Mandla Mandela may marry model Natasha Metto, but details of the wedding arrangements remain closely guarded. Natasha was crowned Miss Kenya in 2010, but has since then been keeping a low profile.
Mandla, who is also an MP of South Africa’s ruling ANC and a traditional chief, is a controversial figure with a colourful love life. He is perceived to be the face of the Mandela family.
In recent weeks sections of the South African media have quoted sources in the Mandela family confirming that the traditional utski ceremony, meant to introduce a prospective bride to the family’s ancestors, had been held.
This was reportedly after lobola negotiations had been completed. Lobola in some South African ethnic groups, like in many traditional Kenyan communities, involves the payment of bride price by the man’s family.
South Africa’s Times Live quoted Napilisi Mandela, a family elder, confirming that the ceremony was held at Mvezo Great Place.
“There was a ceremony for utsiki. I was there. The ceremony is for a woman to be married, for her to be introduced,” the elder said, adding to affirmations by an unnamed family source that the marriage plans were ongoing.
However, the anonymous family source also told Times Live that the family was not united about the way Mandla was doing things.
“Many things are going on and they are dividing the family and eventually Tata Mandela’s ( Nelson Mandela) name is brought up,” the anonymous source said, according to Times Live.
However, Mandla denied the claims of wedding arrangements. He told The Witness, a South African newspaper: “There’s nothing like that. Thank you and don’t call this number again.”
His denial has not quelled reports of the marriage, particularly considering the fact that he may be avoiding getting entangled in another bigamy case.
Mandla married Tando Mabunu-Mandela in 2004, but the union hit the rocks a few years later. Their ongoing divorce case, filed in 2009, has had so many twists and turns that scriptwriters of Mexican soap operas beloved in Nairobi’s households would struggle to sustain such a storyline.
The court case is said to be held up by disagreements over the division of assets. Tando has also claimed in court papers that Mandla is infertile.
But in 2010 things took a dramatic turn when Mandla married Anais Grimaud (who changed her name to Nkosikazi Nobubele), a woman from the Reunion Island. Tando, who is still legally married to the ANC MP, got a court order nullifying the union. Anais and Mandla reportedly continued living together but things turned sour.
Anais gave birth to a son in 2011, but joy turned to shock when Mandla claimed, in a press statement no less, that he was not the biological father of the child. He sensationally accused one of his brothers of fathering the baby.
And on Christmas Eve in 2011, Mandla married Mbalenhle Makhathini in defiance of a court order barring the union. Tando once again sought justice, accusing Mandla of bigamy — which is an offence.
Last month it was reported that Eastern Cape National Prosecuting Authority had referred the bigamy case back to the police for further evidence. Mandla has in his divorce case affirmed his right to polygamy as a traditional chief who needs to produce an heir.
The son of Makgatho Mandela, who died in 2005 of HIV/Aids (something publicly declared by his great father Nelson Madiba Mandela), Mandla has been dogged by various allegations, including one that claimed he had sold the TV rights to Madiba’s funeral — something he denied.
Going by past legal challenges, if it is confirmed that he indeed wants Natasha as a wife, opposition from Tando is likely as the divorce case drags on.
Efforts to reach Natasha for a comment were futile as her number has remained off throughout the week. Her parents, who are large-scale farmers in Mosoriot, near Eldoret, neither denied nor confirmed the news when The Nairobian visited the home in Nandi County.
“There is no comment for now. We should first talk to her before making any comments. I will talk to you later,” said Kipsanga Metto, Natasha’s father.
Natasha was crowned Miss World Kenya 2010 at the Braeburn auditorium, beating 12 final contestants. This earned her a ticket to the 60th Miss World pageant in Sanya, China. Although she never became Miss World, Natasha got the “Beauty with a Purpose” title, based on her presentation of the jiggers menace in parts of Kenya.
In multiple post-crown media interviews, the beauty queen said she had jus been admitted to the university of Nairobi to study a degree in Business Administration. She, however, was contemplating deferring her studies to take on the responsibilities that came with her new title.
After being crowned Miss Kenya, Natasha promised she would be involved in community-based projects, especially those that involve children. Looking back three years later, The Nairobian could not find any specific project linked to her, save for photos of Natasha and another former beauty queen Cecilia Mwangi in an ongoing anti-jiggers campaign.
Before Miss World contest, Natasha had previously unsuccessfully contested the Nokia Face of Africa in 2008. She has since participated in various corporate events.
In the past she often was spotted hanging out in Westlands. However, unlike other local celebrities, Natasha has never featured in gossip columns and very little is known about her love life. However, The Nairobian has contacted multiple sources close to her —including her mentors, fellow models and friends — and a common thread was that Natasha is an absolutely private person, who rarely gives out personal information. Her friends and fellow models also claimed that she is out of the country. We were unable to independently confirm this.
Mandla featured in the Kenyan media last August when Miss Kenya Shamim Nabil revealed that he may be visiting Nairobi ‘soon’. He was reportedly one of one of the judges at the Miss World competition in China and was impressed by the Kenyan beauty’s plans for a water project.
If the speculation is proved right, the Metto family will be the second in Kenya to have marital links to a high-profile South African family. Politician Lindiwe Sisulu, daughter of anti-apartheid heroes Walter and Albertina Sisulu, is married to Kenyan professor Rok Ajulu. They live in South Africa.
Kenyan model to marry Nelson Mandela’s ‘bad boy’ grandson