Mandela Funeral Broadcast Spat

The Times’ Jerome Starkey has an bizarre story about Nelson Mandela’s (eventual) funeral and the fight over broadcast rights…

Makaziwe Mandela, the former president’s eldest daughter, held talks with the South African Broadcasting Corp and government officials last month demanding “preferential” access for CNN, the American network.

Although details of Mr Mandela’s state funeral have not been released – it is deemed inappropriate while he clings to life in hospital – it is expected to be one of the most widely watched send-offs in broadcasting history.

Ms Mandela’s insistence on having CNN present comes despite the BBC spending months advising South Africa’s state broadcaster on how best to manage a major ceremonial event.

The news is likely to inflame tensions with her nephew Mandla, who was accused by network executives of selling exclusive broadcasting rights to SABC in 2008. He denied the deal but lost control of the funeral arrangements last week after Makaziwe Mandela won a court ruling.

The ruling also forced Mandla to return the bodies of the former president’s three dead children from his own village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape, to Qunu, where the anti-apartheid hero grew up.

A spokesman for CNN denied paying for special broadcasting rights, but sources inside the company confirmed they had been in touch with Makaziwe Mandela across many years and that discussions included how they could best cover the funeral.

It is understood CNN is hoping to have a camera and a correspondent inside Mr Mandela’s house and at the graveside. If the plan goes ahead, it will be the only broadcaster with its own crew inside the Mandela compound. The rest of the world’s media will be forced to rely on a live feed from the SABC.

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6 Responses to “Mandela Funeral Broadcast Spat”

  1. erich500 Says:

    Nelson Mandela was an incredibly great man. As much for what he did after being released from prison – advocating reconciliation and not revenge – as for what he did before.

    But his family is…well….as the saying goes you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.

    That might be put on his tombstone somewhere.

  2. savefarris Says:

    And we all know CNN would do a bang-up job. After all, they’ve NEVER traded access for editorial control.

    Isn’t that right, Eason Jordan?

  3. The best team of pallbearers on television.

  4. To quote the woman walking out of the theater in the original Producers, “Talk about bad taste!”

    What’s next marketing rights, including souvenirs?

  5. Mandela Matzohs. Work on it.

  6. Mandela Matzohs. Work on it.

    I would suggest eating a lot of fiber with them. Matzoh can be quite, uh, binding.

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