Tus­sle over Madiba’s gravesite

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela has threat­ened to stop the Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion and the East­ern Cape pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s plans to open the for­mer states­man’s grave to tourists.

Her lawyer, Mvuzo No­tyesi, said on Fri­day that she would file an in­ter­dict to thwart the plans be­cause she still had a le­gal claim to her for­mer hus­band’s home in Qunu, East­ern Cape, where the grave is sit­u­ated.

“We have been granted leave to ap­peal to the Supreme Court of Ap­peal,” he said, adding that the or­der was is­sued on Jan­uary 20, and the court would hear the mat­ter.

“We de­liv­ered our fur­ther pa­pers to­day [Fri­day]. Any at­tempt by the foun­da­tion to do all those things shall be in­ter­dicted. What they are do­ing sur­prises us.”

Only close fam­ily mem­bers have been able to visit Madiba’s grave, which has been closed to the pub­lic. Qunu is about 40km from Mthatha.

Nkosi Than­dux­olo Mti­rara, chair of the royal fam­ily for the kingdom of abaThembu, which in­cludes the Man­de­las, said Madik­izela-Man­dela’s claim to the Qunu prop­erty had noth­ing to do with Madiba’s grave. Re­gard­less of whether or not she won her case to take own­er­ship of the house, tra­di­tion­ally, women had lit­tle to do with graves.

“She is claim­ing the home. The grave is a fam­ily mat­ter ... Even if [she] were to win the home, the mat­ter of the grave will still be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of Zwe­liv­elile [grand­son Mandla Man­dela’s praise name] as the head of the fam­ily and the man in the fam­ily,” he said.

“It does not have any­thing to do with [the] home if she wins it in the end. She is not a Dlomo [the Man­de­las’ clan name]. The grave is a mat­ter of the amaDlomo.” Mti­rara, how­ever, com­plained that Mandla Man­dela had not been in­formed by the royal fam­ily about the de­vel­op­ment plans. Nev­er­the­less, he be­lieved that the abaThembu would wel­come the abil­ity to ac­cess the grave, and it would also pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for rel­a­tives who have not yet paid their re­spects to Madiba to visit the site. Mandla Man­dela could not be reached for com­ment as he was in Par­lia­ment this week. Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion spokesper­son Luzuko Koti de­clined to com­ment, re­fer­ring the mat­ter to the East­ern Cape gov­ern­ment and the Nel­son Rolih­lahla Man­dela fam­ily trust. This week, foun­da­tion board mem­ber Tokyo Sexwale an­nounced the plans, say­ing they were part of the foun­da­tion’s com­mem­o­ra­tion plans for Madiba’s cen­te­nary in July next year. Fi­nance, Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs and Tourism MEC Sakhumzi Somyo said the project would lead to a tourism boost in the prov­ince. But he de­clined to com­ment on Madik­izela-Man­dela’s claim to the Qunu home. Somyo said the plan would in­clude a tourism trail show­cas­ing the prov­ince’s le­gends, in­clud­ing Madiba and Oliver Tambo. They would also de­velop Mthatha Air­port with a new run­way and ter­mi­nal build­ing, and im­prove lo­cal roads. Mthatha’s King Sa­bata Dalindyebo Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity mayor Du­mani Zozo said ac­cess to the gravesite would be an es­sen­tial eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. The plans in­clude ex­pand­ing Mthatha’s roads net­work to re­duce traf­fic, and build­ing new ho­tels around the city. There will also be links be­tween the Nel­son Man­dela Mu­seum in Mthatha and the grave, he said.

Win­nie Madik­ize­laMan­dela

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.