Mandla Mandela, the eldest grandson of Nelson Mandela, has married for the fourth time – this time to a Muslim woman, Rabia Clarke, in a quiet ceremony in Cape Town on Saturday.
The marriage appears to have been kept a closely guarded secret until pictures of the happy bride and groom appeared on social media.
Mandela confirmed he married Clarke yesterday.
“I am honoured and delighted to announce my marriage to Rabia Clarke, in Cape Town, on February 6. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Rabia’s parents, her extended family and the Muslim community for welcoming me into their hearts.
“Although Rabia and I were raised in different cultural and religious traditions, our coming together reflects what we have in common: We are South Africans.”
A family friend told The Times the wedding took place at a mosque in Kensington, followed by a reception at Cape Town hotel, African Pride 15 on Orange, in the Gardens.
“It was an intimate affair, about 150 guests,” the friend said. “Mandla’s mother and her parents were there,” she said.
“Mandla became a Muslim about three months ago,” she added.
Clarke is from a respected Cape Town Muslim family.
Her sister, Hajir Clarke, tweeted yesterday: “Mandla Mandela and my sister, Rabia Clarke, got married yesterday.”
Staff at African Pride 15 On Orange said they were not permitted to speak about the wedding, and referred queries to their general manager, who was not available.
Mandela, 42, has a chequered marital history, with three previous marriages already under his belt. A wife once filed bigamy charges against him when he tried to marry while they were still allegedly married.