Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela may have fathered an illegitimate daughter during a brief affair with a woman he met in Cape Town in the 1940s, his foundation has admitted. Mpho Pule spent almost 12 years battling to see the man she believed was her father, but died just a month before his office wrote to say that it was close to confirming her claim. Now her children are continuing her fight to be recognised as the seventh child fathered by the former president of South Africa. Verne Harris, a spokesman for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said on Friday that Pule's claim matched the documentary record of his life, but stressed that only a DNA test would give absolute confirmation. Pule, a former bakery worker and a mother of six from a township near the Free State city of Bloemfontein, is said to have found out who her father was from her grandmother in 1998. Secret She was told that Mandela had conducted a brief affair with her mother, Seipati Jane Monakali, in Cape Town in 1945 while married to his first wife, Evelyn and already had a son. Monakali died in 1992 without revealing her secret. Pule is reported to have repeatedly contacted the foundation in the hope of meeting her father, even writing a letter directly to Mandela. It read: "Dear Tata, Please kindly be advised that this is not an easy letter for me to write. However, pardon my request as it touches on a very long-outstanding sensitive and confidential matter. My request therefore it is to kindly request you to let me meet you, as I believe you are my father and I am your daughter." Her calls and letters went unanswered until last October, when the foundation wrote to say it had "verified" the information she had sent it and asked her to get in contact. But Pule had died of a stroke a month earlier, aged 63. No one from Mandela's family could be reached for comment.