Being Mandela stars Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s granddaughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini. The series will give viewers a window into the daily lives of their close-knit family, and showcase some of their conflicts and personal aspirations.
“We realized this would be a great showcase for our country. We didn’t only just produce Nelson Mandela,” Swati said during an interview with theGrio.
As sisters, daughters, granddaughters, mothers and businesswomen, their personal and professional lives are on full display throughout the 13-episode season.
Zaziwe and Swati didn’t ask permission from their legendary grandfather to do their reality show, however they believe their show will make him proud.
“No we didn’t have to ask him. I mean our grandfather is 95. So we don’t actually go an ask him things like this,” Zaziwe said. “But the Mandela name is our name as well. So he entrusts us to do well by the name to respect the name to treat it with integrity and to produce something that he can be proud of. So we just know that he supports us in everything that we do and we take pride in our name, so we would never do anything to tarnish the name in any way.”
Highlights include their first ever visit to Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. While there, the sisters see the jail cell where their grandfather lived, and also toured the limestone quarry where he worked.
Along with their two brothers, Zaziwe and Swati launched the Long Walk to Freedom clothing line, which pays tribute to their grandfather and his work to unite a nation. The brand shares the name with their grandfather’s autobiography.
Zaziwe and Swati are the daughters of Zenani Mandela Dlamini and Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini, a Prince of Swaziland. Both women were born in South Africa, but spent much of their youth in exile in the United States while their grandfather was imprisoned. They returned to South Africa as teenagers upon their grandfather’s release from prison in 1991.
Both women currently live in Johannesburg, South Africa with their families.
During their interview the sisters also gave an update on the health of their 95-year-old grandfather.
“His health is very good. He’s surrounded by family,” Zaziwe said. “We go to the house all the time. He’s really happiest the most when he spends time with his great grandchildren. So before we came on the trip we literally went to go see him to say bye. So he’s in really really good spirits. We’re very happy.”
“Being Mandela,” premieres on COZI TV February 10 at 9 PM ET and re-airs at midnight ET.
Cozi TV, which replaced the NBC-owned stations’ digital network Nonstop, launched Dec. 20 on stations including WNBC New York and KNBC Los Angeles, and expanded to other affiliates Jan. 1. It’s now available to nearly 38 million homes in the country’s largest markets.
Being Mandela is produced by Jonathan Zager for JZ Productions, Rick Leed for Content Provider and Damien Brown for New Vision Pictures.
theGrio is a part of NBC News which is owned by NBCUniversal.
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC