EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has learned that the three Nelson Mandela granddaughters who will star in their own reality show slated for next year will be making the pitch rounds at the U.S. networks beginning Monday. Rick Leed, the former president of Wind Dancer Production Group (Home Improvement) and who created and executive produced the E! reality series Dr. 90210 for six seasons, is the American producing partner on the series. It’s being distributed internationally and carries the title Being Mandela. The three central characters are Dorothy Adjoa Amuah, 27; her first cousin, Swati Diamini, 32; and Swati’s older sister, 34-year-old Zaziwe Diamini-Manaway (or “Z” for short). All three are granddaughters of Nelson, now 93, who will not participate in the show, nor will any of the womens’ parents. However, Mandela’s grandson Kweku Mandela is another of the producing partners. Leed said this week that the show — scheduled to start shooting in December and debut early next year — is drawing significant interest from “all of the top-tier cable players” including TLC, USA, A&E, Lifetime, Oxygen, E!, TNT, TBS and Bravo. “We’ll be in L.A. taking a very intense round of meetings with broadcasters next week,” he says. “It’s a very competitive situation and a very hot show.” He added that the show already has sold throughout Africa but not yet anywhere in Europe.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s family announced today that three of his grown grandchildren will star in a new reality TV show to air in early 2012. Dorothy Adjoa Amuah, Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, and her younger sister Swati Dlamini, all grew up in the United States, but then returned to South Africa for business and family reasons. “This is about three women breaking away from the Mandela legacy to find their own feet,” said director Graeme Swanepoel. ”The show will be about our lives as young, black women… We’re not wearing ‘I’m a Mandela’ T-shirts,” Swati, granddaughter of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, told the news conference. “We’re definitely not the African Kardashians,” another of the soon-to-be-stars said.