Mandla defiant over burial order
Claims it’s not ‘customary’ for his grandfather to lie next to remains of his children
NELSON Mandela can be buried alone, and doesn’t need to be buried alongside the remains of his three children at his homestead in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.
That’s according to his embattled grandson, Mandla Mandela, who made reference to his grandfather’s burial in his affidavit to the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha.
Mandela, South Africa’s first democratic president and a world icon, remains critically ill in hospital in Pretoria.
His family has been advised by medical practitioners to switch off his life support machine, according to court documents.
Mandla’s affidavit was handed in as part of his application to have the court order against him rescinded.
Sixteen of his relatives won a court order against him to allow for the return of the remains of three of Nelson Mandela’s children, including Mandla’s father.
The name of Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, has been excluded from the final order.
On Thursday, the remains of the three were returned to Qunu and reburied at Mandela’s homestead, giving effect to the court order.
Mandla disagreed with the rest of the family’s contention that the matter was urgent, and said it would not be “customary” for his grandfather to be buried alongside his children’s remains.
The rest of the family argued that the remains needed to be reburied urgently, because Mandela needed to be buried alongside them.
In his papers, Mandla says: “The applicants make the bald, unsubstantiated claim that the matter is somehow urgent because it is in some unexplained manner related to the burial rites of my grandfather, Nelson Mandela.
“Precisely why the matter is urgent is not, however, explained. Nor is the tenuous link between the remains and the burial of my grandfather explained.”
He points out “respectfully” that reason for the applicants’ suggestion that Mandela’s body “must follow the bodies of his children who have predeceased him” is not explained.
And he adds: “I can confirm that this is not in accordance with customary law.”
However, in affidavits launched by the 16 applicants, they argued that the three relatives had be reburied in Qunu urgently, so than Mandela, when he needed to be laid to rest, could lie alongside them.
The affidavit of Mandela’s eldest living daughter Makaziwe said Madiba would be “forlorn” if he could not be buried alongside his children’s remains. “The applicants do not want a situation to be created in which Mr Nelson Mandela’s remains are committed to lie in a burial site, entirely alone and forlorn, and absent from those remains of his children and grandchild.”
She added in her affidavit that it had always been her father’s wish to be buried at his family’s homestead in Qunu, near Mthatha.
MY FATHER: Makaziwe Mandela leaves the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where her father Nelson Mandela is being treated.