Mandela family resume feud over headship of late icon's estate

By The Rainbow

The AbaThembu royal family is outraged over a statement allegedly issued by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela that former president Nelson Mandela's eldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, is now the head of the Mandela family, reports Zimbabwean Mail..

This comes after reports that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has denied that the family is engaged in a “succession or dynasty” battle amid media reports of a family feud.

Mandela clan elders believe that the grandson of Nelson Mandela, Mandla Mandela, is the head of the Mandela family.

Mandla is currently a chief at Mvezo and was installed by AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo with the blessing of Nelson Mandela.

Chief Daludumo Mtirara, spokesperson for the royal family of the Kingdom of the AbaThembu, has lambasted Madikizela-Mandela for causing confusion over who should be the head of the Mandela family.

'Winnie Madikizela-Mandela misled the public about the custom of the Kingdom of AbaThembu,' says Mtirara.

Mtirara says that the royal family intends to schedule a meeting between the Mtirara House, Mnqanqeni House and the Mandela House to reflect on its observation and discuss Madikizela-Mandela's statement further.

Mtirara says Nelson Mandela pronounced to the Thembu nation six years ago that Chief Mandla Mandela was the head of the Mandela family and the traditional spear was handed over to him.

'In 2007, the late world icon made it clear to the royal family to the Kingdom of abaThembu and other associated royal families, that he would hand over the traditional spear for the Mandela family to Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela,' says Mtirara.

'The royal family of the Kingdom of AbaThembu recognises Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela as the head of the Mandela family,' he adds.

Mtirara says that the abaThembu royal family sees Nelson Mandela's daughters as ordinary members of the family who should advise Mandla Mandela when required to do so.

'The royal family recognises Makaziwe Mandela, Zenani Dlamini Mandela and  Zinziswa Mandela as daughters of the late former statesman and ordinary members of the Mandela family who are expected to advise Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela when required,' he says.

He says that they do not expect them to do as they wish while there is a son of the Mandela House who is entrusted with the traditional spear.

Meanwhile, independent cultural expert Dr Nokuzola Mndende says the culture is clear when it comes to who should take over when the father has passed on.

The locks at the home of Nelson Mandela's eldest grandson Mandla Mandela in Qunu have been changed amid reports that a long-standing family feud is set to worsen in the wake of his death.

The South African president's former residence, built in his ancestral village prior to his release from prison, was made out of bounds to Mandla after the arrival of Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe on Thursday, according to reports.

The water and electricity supplies to Mandla's house on the estate were apparently turned off on Saturday on the eve of Mandela's funeral, while Makaziwe is said to have ordered her nephew to remove his livestock from the property.

Furthermore, the South African Timesreports that Mandla's friends and close family were deliberately 'side-lined' at Mandela's funeral and refused access to the burial site.

'He doesn't want to focus on those type of things anymore,' Mandla's spokesman, Freddy Pilusa told The Telegraph. 'What he wants to do is to preserve and uphold the legacy of Madiba.'

The latest developments are part of a long-running dispute between the two over their position at head of the family and the control of Mandela's legacy and estate.

Arguments have also been sparked over who will inherit his trust funds and own the rights to use Mandela's name and image posthumously.

The disagreements were first made public in June, after Makaziwe accused Mandla of exhuming and moving the remains of Mandela's deceased children from Qunu to nearby Mvezo. She obtained a court order to have the bodies returned to the village of Qunu.

Makaziwe is thought to have taken charge of the organisation of Mandela's Qunu funeral while Mandla watched over Mandela's body at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

'I, like most in the family, told myself that when the eventuality of Madiba's passing arrives, I would not mourn but celebrate all that is good that he has left within me and for the world,' he said in a statement released on Monday.

'I was however mistaken because the pain of losing him unexpectedly got to me like one pierced by a sharp spear.'

Nelson Mandela died on December 5 in his Houghton home in Johannesburg and was buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on December 15. Mandela was survived by his three daughters Makaziwe, Zenani Dlamini-Mandela and Zindziswa Mandela.

In her statement Madikizela-Mandela said in accordance with customary law and tradition, the eldest daughter, Makaziwe, would head the family and would make decisions with the support of her two sisters.

“To this end there is no misunderstanding, or debate. Mandla Mandela is respected as one of Nelson Mandela's grandchildren, the next generation of the Mandela family,” Mmereki said in a statement at the time.

A 30-foot bronze statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled outside the government's Union Buildings in the South African capital yesterday.

Portraying Mr Mandela with his arms outstretched, the current South African president Jacob Zuma said it had been designed to to show that he had embraced the entire nation.

Mr Mandela had a full state funeral at his ancestral home on Sunday following a 10-day mourning period after he passed away aged 95.

'Former President Mandela is associated with the promotion of reconciliation which is why the day was chosen for the unveiling,' said the South African government. News24/Sapa