Were South Africans Really Dancing in The Streets, as the Dutchess of Sussex Claimed?

Nelson Mandela's grandson today slammed Meghan Markle for suggesting her marriage to Prince Harry sparked scenes of joy in South Africa reminiscent of the 1990 release of the legendary anti-apartheid campaigner after 27 years in jail, telling MailOnline: 'It can never be compared to the celebration of someone's wedding.’

Zwelivelile 'Mandla' Mandela has said he was 'surprised' at her remarks in The Cut magazine when she claimed that three years ago a cast member of the Lion King had made the comparison between her royal wedding and Madiba's historic walk to freedom.

He said: 'Madiba's celebration was based on overcoming 350 years of colonialism with 60 years of a brutal apartheid regime in South Africa. So It cannot be equated to as the same.'

Referring to Meghan, he said: ’Every day there are people who want to be Nelson Mandela, either comparing themselves with him or wanting to emulate him.

‘But before people can regard themselves as Nelson Mandelas, they should be looking into the work that he did and be able to be champions and advocates of the work that he himself championed'.

The furor was sparked by a 6,409-word article called 'Meghan of Montecito' published yesterday, where the former Suits star recalled an encounter she had at the 2019 London premiere of a live-action version of the Disney classic.

She said an actor from South Africa pulled her aside and told her: 'I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison'.

But MailOnline has learned that the story has astonished the Mandela family. 'Mandla' Mandela, an MP and Chief of the late South African President's Mvezo tribe, said he was 'surprised' at her remarks.

His grandfather served 27 years in prison before being released and re-uniting opponents and going on to lead his country.

Zwelivelile said when the people of South Africa expressed their joy at his grandfather's release and danced in the streets, it was for a far more important and serious reason than her marriage 'to a white prince'.

The African National Congress MP added: 'We are still bearing scars of the past. But they (Mr Mandela's celebrations) were a product of the majority of our people being brought out onto the streets to exercise the right of voting for the first time.

‘He spoke for oppressed minorities, children and women and protracting the most vulnerable people in our society.

‘He always spoke about oppressed nations around the globe and yet people are silent on those issues.

‘But this is what we like to see (from) people when they regard themselves as being a “Nelson Mandela”.

‘Then you could be a champion of the causes that he represented.’

He added: ‘My advice to everyone is to live the life Nelson Mandela lived and support the causes he supported.

‘That is the ultimate litmus test. What is the value of people dancing in the street and chanting President Nelson Mandela's name when what they stand for is diametrically opposed to what he stood for?

‘Nelson Mandela's release from jail was the culmination of nearly 350 years of struggle in which generations of our people paid with their lives. It can never be compared to the celebration of someone's wedding.’