Squab­bles mar fam­ily plans to hon­our pa­tri­arch

Sunday Times - - News Mandela Feud - By BON­GANI FUZILE

● As the world pre­pares to cel­e­brate Nel­son Man­dela’s cen­te­nary birth­day on Wed­nes­day, his fam­ily will spend it much like they did dur­ing his fi­nal years and im­me­di­ately af­ter his death — bick­er­ing.

Man­dela’s fi­nal rest­ing place at his farm at Qunu in the East­ern Cape will be empty as plans to have the cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions there — to co­in­cide with the open­ing of his grave site to the pub­lic — have fiz­zled out.

In­stead, Man­dela’s el­dest grand­son, Mandla, the chief of Mvezo Great Place, has planned a lav­ish cel­e­bra­tion at Man­dela’s birth­place, with a huge dome and mar­quee sim­i­lar to the ones used at Man­dela’s fu­neral.

But while Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and for­mer pres­i­dents Ja­cob Zuma and Kgalema Mot­lanthe are ex­pected to at­tend the Mvezo event, Man­dela’s el­dest daugh­ter, Makaziwe, and many of his grand­chil­dren will not be present.

Mandla said the event was “an ini­tia­tive of the Royal House of Man­dela in part­ner­ship with the Univer­sal Peace Fed­er­a­tion and is it­self an oc­ca­sion to an­nounce a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional peace con­fer­ence sched­uled for Novem­ber in hon­our of the great­est global icon of peace of our times”.

He wouldn’t elab­o­rate on ini­tial plans to com­mem­o­rate the cen­te­nary birth­day Qunu.

Makaziwe told the Sun­day Times she wasn’t at­tend­ing the Mvezo event.

“What am I go­ing to do in Mvezo? Mvezo is Mandla’s place and mine is Qunu, I’ve got noth­ing to do with that,” she said.

Asked what she would be do­ing, she replied: “That’s got noth­ing to do with you.”

A grand­daugh­ter, Ndileka, said: “A bulk of us won’t be there as we will be at­tend­ing events like the memo­rial lec­ture and din­ners. I think Nd­aba will be in Qunu as he nor­mally does each year. We won’t be in Mvezo, no.”

Grand­son Nd­aba didn’t re­spond to queries, but ac­cord­ing to his web­site he is sched­uled to be work­ing with the Nel­son Man­dela Mu­seum in Mthatha on Wed­nes­day.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, who Man­dela treated as a son and who was a key per­son in or­gan­is­ing the fu­neral in De­cem­ber 2013, said he wasn’t in­vited to the Mvezo event and was “in the dark” about it. He will be among thou­sands at the Man­dela memo­rial lec­ture at Bid­vest Wan­der­ers Sta­dium in Jo­han­nes­burg, to be de­liv­ered by for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

Mean­while, East­ern Cape tra­di­tional lead­ers said that while they would at­tend the Mvezo event, they were sad­dened that the com­mem­o­ra­tion would not be tak­ing place at Qunu.

The chair­man of the East­ern Cape House of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers‚ Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, said: “We would love to be al­lowed to go and lay wreaths at Man­dela’s grave in Qunu, but for that of course we need to get per­mis­sion from Chief Mandla Man­dela.”

The Man­de­las’ neigh­bour in Qunu, Chief Nok­wanele Bal­izulu, said she was shocked that no sig­nif­i­cant event would be hosted at Man­dela’s farm.

“One was ex­pect­ing that there would be a huge event here to hon­our Man­dela af­ter five years since he died and his cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions will be cel­e­brated.

“But we have to sup­port the fam­ily in Mvezo, and we are go­ing there with our full sup­port,” said Bal­izulu.

Cracks in the fam­ily started to be vis­i­ble be­fore Man­dela’s burial, when a fight broke out af­ter Mandla ex­humed the graves of Man­dela’s chil­dren Mak­gatho, Them­bek­ile and the first Makaziwe and had them moved from Qunu to his Mvezo vil­lage.

● ➽ See In­sight pages, and Edi­to­rial on page 24 at

What am I go­ing to do in Mvezo? Mvezo is Mandla’s place and mine is Qunu, I’ve got noth­ing to do with that

Makaziwe Man­dela

Man­dela’s el­dest daugh­ter

Pic­ture: Lu­lamile Feni

Chief Mandla Man­dela has had a dome as large as the one used at his grand­fa­ther’s fu­neral erected in Mvezo for a VIP gather­ing on Wed­nes­day.

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