Mandela Granddaughters' Reality Show Premieres Sunday

"Being Mandela," a new show chronicling the lives of Nelson Mandela's granddaughters, is premiering on COZI-TV.

Posted: 02/08/2013 11:18 AM EST

Americans will get a peek into the lives of Nelson Mandela's granddaughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini on the new reality TV show Being Mandela that premieres on COZI TV, a new channel owned by NBC, on Sunday. 

Besides their grandfather being a world icon and former prime minister of South Africa, the sisters are the daughters of Zenani Mandela and Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini of Swaziland, tying them to African royalty.

Being Mandela will show the glamorous side of the sisters' lives, South Africa, and motherhood. But it also revisits how their childhood's were affected by their grandfather's imprisonment.

The Associated Press reports.

The sisters, who spent most of their childhood in exile in the United States, make an emotional visit to the prison on Robben Island where their grandfather spent 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned by South Africa's white-ruled government. Swati works on publishing the prison diaries that her grandmother wrote but now cannot bear to read.

Swati, whose full name is Zamaswazi, was smuggled onto Robben Island in 1980, when she would have been less than a year old, wrapped in blankets that grandmother Winnie Madikizela-Mandela pretended she needed as protection against the cold.

Let in on the secret, prison guard Christo Brand recalls initially refusing to allow Mandela to see his grandchild, according to his memoir at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.

Then, Brand says, he gave in, though he feared he might lose his job. "I gave him the baby, he had tears in his eyes while he held her ..." he says. "Mandela never told anyone about this. When we walked back to the prison section, he told me how important the moment was, to touch something small."

Read the full story here.


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(Photo: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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