South Africa may have had an Indian-origin First Lady if Amina Cachalia had agreed to a proposal of marriage from the countrys first democratically-elected President Nelson Mandela.
Mandela proposed to Amina,widow of veteran ANC activist Yusuf Cachalia,after his 27 years in jail and after his marriage to Winnie Mandela ended. But she dismissed his declarations of love,she wrote in her biography When Hope and History Rhyme.
Amina,who died last month,revealed an intimate and affectionate side to the relationship between her and lifelong friend Mandela in the book released after her death. Her children,Ghaleb and Coco,confirmed that their mother had confided in them about Mandelas proposal.
In her book,Cachalia wrote. … (Mandela) sat me down on the couch in the living room and kissed me passionately. Running his fingers through my hair,he said: Do you know that you are an exceptionally beautiful,vivacious and enticing young lady? I hollered at him.
Amina also recalled the evening she turned him down. That night Nelson declared his love for me… I resisted,reminding him of his marriage (to former Mozambican First Lady Graca Machel)…, Amina wrote.
I was not in love with Nelson… I could not bring myself to want him as I did Yusuf,even in our old age, Amina concluded.