Mandela denies writing for Congo president's book

Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:28am EDT
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nelson Mandela Tuesday denied having written a foreword attributed to him in a book by Congo Republic President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and threatened "appropriate action."

The Mandela Foundation said the former South African leader and Nobel laureate had decided last year not to write any more book forewords.

"It has come to the attention of the Nelson Mandela Foundation that a book by Denis Sassou-Nguesso, the President of the Republic of Congo, claims to have a foreword written by Nelson Mandela," it said in a statement.

"This is a false claim. Mr Mandela has neither read the book nor written a foreword for it."

The book, Straight Speaking for Africa, was published by Africa World Press.

"We condemn this brazen abuse of Mr Mandela's name. We will be taking appropriate action," the foundation said.

The foreword to the book quotes Mandela as saying Sassou-Nguesso was one of Africa's great leaders who had worked tirelessly to free oppressed people from their chains.

There was no immediate reaction from Sassou-Nguesso's office.

Mandela, 91, was held in prison for 27 years by South Africa's apartheid government before becoming the country's president after its first democratic election in 1994.

He stepped down in 1999 and since then has retired from public life.

(Reporting by Gordon Bell, editing by Tim Pearce)

<p>Former South African President Nelson Mandela listens to the State of The Nation address being delivered by the current President Jacob Zuma at Parliament in Cape Town, June 3, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>