Johannesburg - The AbaThembu royal family has urged the Mandela family to keep calm when the estate of former president Nelson Mandela is discussed, its spokesman said on Sunday.
“We understand that there is a process for the allocation of the Estate,” royal family spokesman Daludumo Mtirara said in a statement.
“We advised the family members to remain calm, respect the administration of the Estate and ensure that all the assets remain where they are until processes are finalised.”
Mtirara said this call was made during a meeting between the AbaThembu royal family and the elders of the Mandela house in Qunu, Eastern Cape on Friday.
The members of the royal family shared their concern about instability in the Mandela house, he said.
Mtirara said at the meeting - to which Mandela's grandsons, Mandla and Ndaba were invited - it was reiterated that Mandla, who is the eldest grandson, was to be considered the head of the family.
“Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela is the only point of entry to the Mandela house and he remains the head of this house...in his absence Zweliyajika Ndaba Mandela must take over,” said Mtirara.
Reports emerged that the family was fighting over Mandela's estate and wanted to evict Mandela's widow Graca Machel from the house she and Mandela shared.
Shortly after Mandela's death, his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela described reports of a renewed family feud as “mischievous innuendos” and “apartheid-style” tactics.
At the time she issued a statement through her spokesman, Thato Mmereki, in which she said that in accordance with tradition, the eldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, would head the family and would make decisions with the support of her two sisters.
It was reported that, days after Mandela died, his eldest daughter Makaziwe ordered that the locks be changed at the family homestead in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, and that Mandla was locked out.
Mandla and Makaziwe have been involved in a bitter public spat over the control of Mandela's legacy and the leadership of the fractured family.
Last week, Mtirara said the world icon had pronounced to the Thembu nation six years ago that Mandla was the head of the family and that a traditional spear was handed over to him.
On Sunday, Mtirara said it was decided at the meeting that Madikizela-Mandela did not have a mandate from the elders or the authority to discuss “our culture, custom and tradition in the media”.
Mtirara said during the meeting, no firm evidence could be found that proved Machel was ill-treated by the family.
“She must be respected by each and every family member as she is the only wife of Madiba who supported him until the last moment.”
He also said Machel was to be informed of anything happening in Mvezo, Qunu and Houghton.
Mtirara said that it was noted at the meeting that Mandla and Ndaba were not wearing traditional mourning ribbons, known as 'amaqhosha.'
“We also became aware that there are also other members of the families who do not have them.”
Mtirara said it emerged that a family member tasked with making and distributing the ribbons had not given them to all family members.
“It is unacceptable and against our tradition to witness the isolation of the core of the Mandela family and other members of the family.”
It was ordered that all family members must be issued with the ribbons by January 4th, he said.
Mandela died at his Houghton home and was buried ten days later in Qunu, the rural area in which he spent most of his boyhood. - Sapa