Pretoria - The battle of the Mandelas seems far from over with Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla insisting that Madiba had himself asked to be buried in Mvezo, next to his parents.
Madiba’s burial site is right at the core of the family feud that has pitted Mandla against his brothers and aunts. Makaziwe and 15 others told the high court they believed Mandla wanted to “force” the elderly statesman’s place of burial away from Qunu, to Mvezo.
The family feud also intensified on Thursday, with Mandla - whose full title and name is Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela - airing the family’s “dirty linen” in public and attacking members of his family from his aunt to his two brothers.
“The applicants, as custodians of the last will and testament of Nelson Mandela will have duties to ensure his last wishes are carried out in the event of his demise,” said Makaziwe and others.
On Madiba’s will, Mandla said “it remains a secret and remains with the people he has appointed to administer that”.
The family also held a ceremony on Thursday, when the remains of Madiba’s three children were returned to Qunu as per Wednesday’s court decision.
Before the ceremony Mandla said at a press conference that the topic of Madiba’s burial site came up once while sitting in Qunu with a crew from the BBC that was shooting a “30 days with Madiba” documentary.
“While in Qunu the subject came up. (Madiba) said I should usher the crew to the gravesite to show them where his mother and father are.
“Then they asked him the question ‘where would you like to be buried’ and he immediately, without hesitation, said ‘I want to be laid right here next to my father’.
“And that is all that I know about my grandfather’s wishes,” said Mandla.
He said the ailing Madiba would also be disappointed at recent events that had played out in public and in court. He also questioned the legitimacy of some of the 15 family members who took him to court, saying they could not claim to be part of the Mandela family.
He went on to accuse his aunt Makaziwe Mandela, who was the main applicant in the court case, of trying to get her hands on the global icon’s money by trying to have George Bizos, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Bally Chuene removed as trustees in Madiba’s trusts.
During Thursday’s briefing Mandla focused his attention mainly on Makaziwe and two brothers Mbuso and Ndaba.
Flanked by his mother Nolusapho, the young chief said he had been the subject of “attacks from all sorts of individuals wanting a few minutes of fame and media attention at my expense” over the past few days.
“In the first instance, I want to express my disappointment at the decision taken at the Mthatha High Court on Thursday. I remain convinced that the decision of the court was erroneous as the court granted a final order in my absence so I was effectively denied the right to be heard. I will, however, not challenge this further because it will serve no purpose,” said Mandla.
Turning his attention to members of his family, he said he had to address a few matters “that have been circulating in the media”.
“Having stood against my family in the case that was put forward by my grandfather’s children, that of aunt Makaziwe and aunt Zenani, supported by a number of grandchildren and other members of the family, to try and remove George Bizos, as well as the minister Tokyo and Bally Chuene as trustees: I made it clear that I want no part in it. The family saw fit that having clearly disappointed many South Africans and the public on the stance they took, they look to seeking revenge, targeting a soft target like myself,” said Mandla.
He said certain people had been parading as family members in the “day-to-day decisions “ of the Mandela family.
“Individuals have abandoned their own families and heritage and decided to jump on the Mandela wagon,” said Mandla.
He said Makaziwe was married to Camagu Balfour and had two children, Tukwini and Dumani, before divorcing and marrying Isaac Amuah, with whom she had a son called Kweku Amuah.
“She is in actual fact a Mrs Amuah and ought to be focusing on the Amuah family issues,” said Mandla.
His brother Ndaba was also not spared. “As for Ndaba I’m highly disappointed. He claims in the media reports that I was born out of wedlock. I wish he would say that in the presence of my father. I do not want to hang out our dirty linen as a family in public. But he knows very well that my father impregnated a married woman… he is a result of that act.
“So, he should be very careful when he wants to throw insults, particularly to my mother who still sits by my side, nurtures and ensures that I am able to wake up every day to serve my community,” said Mandla.
His other brother Mbuso “impregnated my wife and the matter was never discussed by the family”.
“For two years I have sent bishops to go and appeal particularly to Ndaba to come and reconcile these matters between me and Mbuso,” said Mandla.
He added that his grandfather was in a stable condition.
In court papers, Makaziwe and others said it was clear that Mandla wanted Madiba buried in Mvezo for “self-serving interests”.
“He knows that it has always been the wish of Mr Nelson Mandela to be buried alongside his children. By controlling the area in which these descendents’ remains are buried, he expects that the remains of (Madiba) will soon follow”