‘Stop all the Man­delis­ing’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

WHY must “ev­ery­thing” be named after for­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela? That is what his el­dest grand­son, Mandla, is ask­ing, after op­pos­ing a move to re­name Mthatha Air­port after the late states­man.

Mandla Man­dela (42), the chief of Mvezo, has lam­basted what he calls the “Man­deli­sa­tion” of “ev­ery­thing in South Africa”.

“Peo­ple are so fix­ated on Nkosi Dal­ib­hunga’s name [Madiba’s praise name] that they want to Man­delise ev­ery­thing. So ev­ery en­tity must now be named after Nkosi Dal­ib­hunga, dis­re­gard­ing the en­tire legacy of the rest of the lin­eage of abaThembu,” he said at his res­i­dence, Mvezo Great Place.

Mandla said his grand­fa­ther spoke to him about this be­fore he died, say­ing he “had been a mere voice and face of the strug­gle for lib­er­a­tion”, but that there were many or­di­nary South Africans who sac­ri­ficed more than he did, be­cause they died for the strug­gle.

“They are dis­re­garded. Their sto­ries are un­told. Their con­tri­bu­tions are un­known. Why? Be­cause we have cho­sen to be a so­ci­ety that is fix­ated on the Man­deli­sa­tion of ev­ery­thing.”

He then spoke of the name-change pro­posal re­gard­ing Mthatha Air­port. Pre­vi­ously the KD Matanz­ima Air­port, it was named after the for­mer ruler of the Transkei and Madiba’s cousin.

“Last week, I was ap­proached by the Avi­a­tion Board in charge of air­ports in the East­ern Cape, say­ing they would like to change the air­port to the Nel­son Man­dela Air­port . . . I can­not, when I am al­ready the chief of the Man­dela fam­ily, to­day be part of a plan to erase KD Matanz­ima’s name from his­tory. Not me,” Mandla said.

He added that Madiba had called Matanz­ima “an el­e­gant man” who taught him how to dress prop­erly. He had also wel­comed Mandla’s grand­mother and Madiba’s first wife, Eve­lyn Mase, to Cofimv­aba and given her a plot in town after her di­vorce.

Mandla said a bet­ter op­tion would have been to re­name Port El­iz­a­beth Air­port after Madiba be­cause the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Metro was al­ready named after him.

“But no. You are fix­ated on this name . . . So you run to Mthatha and delete Madiba’s own cousin’s name so that you can put Madiba’s name there. I will only sup­port a de­ci­sion taken by the Matanz­ima royal fam­ily.”

Mandla played down re­ports that gov­ern­ment had poured mil­lions of rands into Mvezo to turn it into a tourism site, with lit­tle to show for it.

Some of the de­vel­op­ments in Mvezo in­clude a 10km tar road and Nkosi Dal­ib­hunga Man­dela Legacy bridge link­ing the N2 to the Mvezo Great Place, which cost R127 mil­lion.

There is also a mul­tipur­pose cen­tre, a cul­tural cen­tre and a tra­di­tional court with ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fices, built for R15 mil­lion.

The de­part­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs spent R3 mil­lion on land­scap­ing. The de­part­ment of tourism is cur­rently build­ing a back­pack­ers and self-cater­ing lodge for R33 mil­lion. — AFP

Mandla Man­dela

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