Meet Nelson Mandela’s new doppelganger in search of his roots

Ama Nunoo April 19, 2021
Themba Michael Qhina (L) and Nelson Madiba Mendela (R) have a striking resemblance. Photo:

They say everybody has a lookalike – either presently or from the past. Scientifically, our faces have evolved due to the importance of individuality to our species and that is why everybody must surely have a lookalike out there somewhere.

It does not always have to take natural occurrences to make you an identical twin to be able to have a mirror of your face out there. Currently, a new Nelson Mandela lookalike is causing a frenzy on social media.

Themba Michael Qhina, who resides in Maboloka in North West, is often referred to as Mandela by almost everyone in his neighborhood. Qhina has been enjoying the popularity that his resemblance with the former president of South Africa brings. He says the fame has landed him a few features in some projects while people also walk up to him for photos.

The 67-year-old even got preferential treatment from some nurses at a hospital he was admitted to. Nevertheless, Qhina said there is more to the ‘Mandela fame’ than he is currently getting. Although it has not been established, he believes there might be a possibility that he is a relation of the late Madiba. All he needs right now is some assistance in ascertaining that fact. At the moment, he cannot trace his father’s roots, which might give him the answers he is in search of, according to the Daily Sun.

The only memory Qhina claims he has of his father’s hometown comes from the time when he (Qhina) was sent off to the mountain for his manhood rites in 1969 and even with that, he can barely make the place out.

His father, John Mbhuti Qhina, was born in 1918 and died in 1994 in Welkom. He, however, did not share enough information about where he came from, Qhina said. “He only said he came from a small house in the Eastern Cape(Transkei).”

Qhina is not the only child of his father in search of his origins. His younger sister, 58-year old Cecilia Mokwena, also wants closure and would be relieved to know where their father was originally from and other information that might help her and her nine other siblings trace their roots.

People in his community are also vested in helping tie the loose ends in his life. One man told reporters a group of them intended on seeking help from the police on his behalf.

Despite his recent popularity outside Maboloka, Qhina’s main focus is to find his roots and maybe possible ties to the Mandela family. He adds that his interest is not in gaining any monetary support from the Mandelas. Even though things have been hard for him, he just wants to connect with his ancestors, he says.

He is therefore appealing to anyone who could have any information about his family, especially those who used to live or still live in the former Transkei area, to contact him. “Things have been bad for me. I’m confident they will get better if I know where my father comes from and reconnect with my ancestors.

“I’ll be happy if it is established I am related to the Mandelas. I won’t ask for anything. I just want to know where I belong,” he says.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 19, 2021


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