Imposter at Mbeki home

Lulamile Feni

EPAINETTE Mbeki, affectionately known as MaMbeki, told yesterday how a man showed up at her Eastern Cape home claiming to be her long-lost grandson.

The incident, on Sunday, has angered the elderly woman.

Speaking from her home in a Dutywa village, MaMbeki told how a Zulu-speaking man showed up at her door and said he was Kwanda, former president Thabo Mbeki’s son.

Kwanda, the product of a liaison in Mbeki’s teenage years with Nokwanda Olive Mpahlwa, disappeared in 1981 while reportedly trying to leave South Africa to join his father and other anti- apartheid activists in exile. He is presumed dead.

MaMbeki said that over the years, six people had claimed to be Mbeki’s children. However, she said, it was the first time someone had come and introduced himself as Kwanda.

“I was happy that Kwanda had emerged after so many years of disappearance, but we were not convinced and instead became more suspicious of the imposter.

“Although he asked where his mother, Nokwanda, was, he was definitely not Kwanda,” MaMbeki said.

The man claiming to be Kwanda had shown the police guarding the house an ID book with the name David Mapholisa Tshabangu, born on November 25 1966. He was accompanied by a woman named Christinah Tshabangu.

MaMbeki said she was not too concerned about the name on the ID as many people had changed their names. She said they were wearing attire of the Zion Christian Church.

“When we started talking, they said they were struggling to have children. Hence they decided to come home, saying that he was Kwanda and the woman was his wife. I was just shocked,” she said. MaMbeki called her niece, Fezeka Mbeki, in Pretoria to tell her about the man.

“She also asked his other name and he said that he was Govan. Kwanda was never Govan or called Govan,” MaMbeki said.

“After more questioning, Fezeka said we must chase him away.”

MaMbeki said she had not given up hope that Kwanda was still alive and would one day knock on the Mbeki door.

“There is hope against hope. We would be happy if he could still be alive and come back home. The worst is not knowing what happened to the child.”

The man claiming to be Kwanda could not be reached on the cell number he had left with a police officer guarding the Mbeki homestead.

Police spokesman Captain Jackson Manatha said no case had been opened. “We were only asked to remove him from the home.”

Mbeki’s spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, declined to comment. Kwanda’s mother could not be contacted.

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