Zaziwe Manaway was born in Mbabane, Swaziland. She holds a bachelor of science in psychology from Clark Atlanta University in the United States. The firstborn granddaughter of Nelson Mandela and Nomzamo Nobandla Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, she is Director of the Long Walk to Freedom line of products.
Zaziwe Manaway was interviewed about her life, career and hope for the future for 200 WOMEN, a book and exhibition project founded on the principle of gender equality comprising original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits. This landmark project is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and to ask them what really matters to them.
Q. What really matters to you?
Being a Mandela – and living the legacy – matters to all of us. We would not be who we are without my grandparents’ sacrifices. My grandfather always said that what he did, he did for us – his family. Our grandmother always says that when she was in jail, she was thinking about us. I hold what they’ve done and what they’ve achieved so dear to my heart; I don’t know if I could have done it myself. It takes an extraordinary person to endure what they have endured and change the world as they have. The legacy is very important to me. It’s up to all of us – especially the family – to continue it.
Q. What brings you happiness?
My family is my greatest happiness. We haven’t had a lot of time together, so being together is very important. My children are my greatest joy. And spending time with my grandmother is priceless: she is always telling me, ‘You’re the oldest grandchild; I’m teaching you all my life lessons because I want you to pass them on to the next generation when I’m gone.’
Q. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The death of a child, because it’s senseless. You’re supposed to live, to grow old, then die, which is why children dying doesn’t make any sense to me.
Q. What would you change if you could?
Poverty and hunger. And I would take away disease. We must also have equality between women and men. It shouldn’t be bizarre to anyone that a woman would want to sit at the same table as men. I think every woman in this world feels the same way – we are judged before we even walk through the door because we’re women.
Q. Which single word do you most identify with?
Gratitude. It’s amazing to be on this earth.