Eastern Cape -
A meeting called by members of the royal family of the AbaThembu kingdom on Friday reaffirmed that Mandla Mandela will remain the Mandela family head, and rubbished claims that Madiba’s widow Graça Machel was being intimidated to leave the Mandela homes.
Recent reports were that family members were fighting over Nelson Mandela’s estate, and moving to evict Machel from the house she and Mandela shared in Houghton.
The meeting at 10am on Friday was held to establish whether members of the royal family, as well as the Mandela elders, were aware of a statement released by Mandela’s former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, royal family spokesman Daludumo Mtirara told the Weekend Argus on Friday.
Madikizela-Mandela’s 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.
Discussions at the meeting had also been held around 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”.
“We therefore disregard these allegations.”
Makaziwe and Mandla have been involved in various disputes in recent months, including a court battle over where the remains of three of Madiba’s children should be buried.