"l can't help it if the ladies take note of me," the first South African black President once echoed such sentiments.
The thrice-married president of the Rainbow Nation, South Africa was a celebrated charmer. Taking note from his old age, the sparky president took captive of celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and the Spice Girls.
Amina Cachalia, a woman who commanded great respect in her living years as an activist in the anti-apartheid struggle, considerately refused the great statesman in 1996, according to her son Ghaleb.
"She called me and my sister aside and she said she wanted to tell us about this proposal and she said she was not going to accept it," Ghaleb said.
Mandela had been a guest at Cachalia's 21st birthday party and she used to visit him at Pollsmoor prison.
"we knew they were good friends, he was a friend of the family; he dropped on all the time. It didn't come as a surprise to us," Ghaleb said.
Amina Cachalia's husband, Yusuf, had died in 1995, the time when Mandela were heading for a divorce from his second wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela.
According to Cachalia's son, he revealed that his mother had turned down one of the 20th century's moral giants because she wanted to honour the legacy of his father.
Cachalia was a strong and independent woman. She wanted to live her life as she saw it fit and satisfying. She also wanted to be close to her grandchildren.
Courageously, Mandela married Graca Machel, the widow of the Mozambican president Samora Machel on his 80th birthday in 1998.
Source : www.theguardian.com
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