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Nelson Mandela may have fathered illegitimate child

Former South African president Nelson Mandela may have fathered an illegitimate daughter following an affair in 1945, his foundation has said.

world Updated: Aug 07, 2010 20:58 IST

Former South African president Nelson Mandela may have fathered an illegitimate daughter following an affair in 1945, his foundation has said.

Mpho Pule's claim matched the documentary record of Mandela's life, Verne Harris, a spokesman for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said. But, Harris stressed that only a DNA test would provide absolute confirmation.

"This is the point at which we hand the matter over to the family," the Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying on Friday.

Pule, who died last year, is said to have found out who her father was from her grandmother in 1998.

Now her children are continuing her fight to be recognised as the seventh child fathered by the former apartheid-era freedom fighter, the daily said.

While the allegation that the former South African president, 92, was unfaithful while married is not new, no claim of paternity is ever known to have been confirmed.

According to Pule's grandmother, Mandela had a brief affair with her daughter Seipati Jane Monakali in Cape Town in 1945 by which time he had been married to his first wife, Evelyn, for a year and already had a son.

Monakali died in 1992 without revealing her secret.

Pule is reported to have repeatedly contacted the foundation in the hope of meeting her father.

Her calls and letters went unanswered until last October, when the foundation wrote to say it had "verified" the information she had sent them and asking her to contact them. Unfortunately, Pule had died of a stroke a month earlier.

Pule's family is now waiting to hear from Mandela's daughter Zindzi, who is said to be handling the claim. No one from Mandela's family could be reached for comment.