Mandla con­firmed as head of Man­dela fam­ily

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JA­NIS KIN­N­EAR

A MEET­ING called by mem­bers of the royal fam­ily of the AbaThembu king­dom yes­ter­day reaf­firmed that Mandla Man­dela will re­main the Man­dela fam­ily head, and dis­missed claims that Madiba’s widow Graça Machel was be­ing in­tim­i­dated into leav­ing the Man­dela homes.

Re­cent re­ports were that fam­ily mem­bers were fight­ing over Man­dela’s es­tate, and mov­ing to evict Machel from the house she and Man­dela shared in Houghton.

The meet­ing at 10am yes­ter­day was held to es­tab­lish whether mem­bers of the royal fam­ily, as well as the Man­dela el­ders, were aware of a state­ment re­leased by Nel­son Man­dela’s for­mer wife Win­nie Madik­izela- Man­dela, royal fam­ily spokesman Daludumo Mti­rara told Weekend Ar­gus yes­ter­day.

The state­ment, re­leased 13 days af­ter Man­dela’s death, de­clared that “in ac­cor­dance with cus­tom­ary law and tra­di­tion”, Madiba’s el­dest daugh­ter Makaziwe Man­dela was now the head of the Man­dela fam­ily.

Makaziwe is Madiba’s only sur­viv­ing child from his first mar­riage to Eve­lyn Mase, and is also his el­dest child. Mandla is the el­dest sur­viv­ing male in the fam­ily. He is the son of Madiba and Mase’s son, Makgatho, who died in 2005.

Mti­rara said nei­ther the Man­dela clan nor mem­bers of the royal fam­ily had been no­ti­fied about the state­ment.

“The royal fam­ily and el­ders were not aware of the state­ment by Win­nie, and it will be ig­nored be­cause it is not in line with our cul­ture and tra­di­tions. Up un­til now, Mandla is still the head, and pre­sides over all cul­tural and fam­ily mat­ters,” he said.

The meet­ing also dis­cussed re­ports al­leg­ing Machel was be­ing forced out of Madiba’s Houghton and Qunu homes.

On the Machel is­sue, which he branded as “non­sense”, Mti­rara said they “could not find any ev­i­dence of this from even those im­pli­cated in the re­ports”.

ja­nis.kin­n­ear@inl.co.za

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