Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who was officially declared dead in December (although, as the Guardian Liberty Voice reported back in June of 2013, he had been brain dead from June onward). He was buried during this month and still manages to capture the media attention. His family is deadlocked in a battle for control of his legacy and does not attempt to hide their arrogance while the looming feud continues.
The feud between the children of Nelson Mandela and his grandchildren has deepened. Mandela’s oldest daughter Makaziwe and the oldest grandson Mandla Mandela have been in the spotlight since June this year. The dispute is deepening, and it was reported that days before the burial of Nelson Mandela in Qunu, Eastern Cape, he was driven away from the family homestead. Reports are circulating that Makaziwe had the locks to the property changed and the electricity disconnected.
Apparently Makaziwe ordered Mandla to remove his livestock from the property. The former wife of Nelson Mandela Graca Machel and long time friend George Bizos intervened but were unsuccessful in dispelling the argument.
During the funeral procession, Mandla was ousted, and no transportation for his political and religious leaders assigned to him was provided. They were refused accreditation.
Mandla issued a statement and said the loss of his grandfather, Nelson Mandela “pierced like a sharp spear.”
Mandla Mandela the oldest surviving male
Mandla Mandela is the oldest surviving male descendant and although engaged in this bitter battle continues to mourn the death of his grandfather Nelson Mandela. His popularity among the Mandela family is waning, and he is often cited as a spoiled brat. However, Mandla has proved to be a reliable and respected personage during the funeral proceedings of the late Nelson Mandela.
Mandla is now the Mvezo chief and confessed that he felt utterly alone after the death of his grandfather, despite being surrounded by family members and friends.
Makaziwe the oldest surviving child
Makaziwe is portrayed as a bully and the odd one out. She publicly stated that she was bitter as a child but in her later years, declared her love for her father Nelson Mandela. Throughout her public appearances since the admission of Mandela to hospital in June this year, she has been portrayed as an abrupt and assertive individual. Her snide comments on television regarding the media revealed a daunting side of her personality.
Makaziwe and her two half sisters were involved in a legal batter prior to the admission of Nelson Mandela to hospital in June this year. The legal battle to control the rights of the Mandela Empire was fraught with problems, and recently this case was closed.
The customary tradition would be for the eldest son to take control of the family upon the death of the leader. As Nelson Mandela did not have a living son at the time of his death, this position rightfully falls to the oldest living male survivor, and that would be Mandla. It is stated that a daughter does not have the right to take charge as leader of a family, simply based on the fact that she will marry away from her birthright. A daughter leaves her family when lebola (lebola is both a traditional ceremony and a dowry that the future groom’s family gives or to the family of the bride) is paid for her hand in marriage.
In this case, Makaziwe did marry, and tradition states that she is now part of her husband’s culture. Their children follow the father’s tradition. Unless the equality factor is taken into account under the customary law and traditions, then Makaziwe can be the head. Therefore, the elders should have clarified this aspect of control, and avoid an argument.
The AbaThembu Royal Family
In the meantime, the AbaThembu royal family has confirmed that Mandla Mandela will remain as the Mandela family head. This announcement came after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (the divorced wife of Nelson Mandela) confirmed that in accordance with customary law and tradition, that Makaziwe (daughter) is the head of the family. As the eldest surviving child, she has the power to this position. Mandla Mandela is the oldest surviving male in the Mandela family.
The royal family and elders plan on ignoring the statement made by Winnie on the grounds that it is not in line with their culture and traditions. They have emphatically stated that Mandla will remain as head of the Mandela family and will preside over all cultural and family matters.
The AbaThembu royal family reminded the family that a decision to invest Mandla as head of the family was taken six years ago. As the customs of that culture continues, the traditional spear was handed over to him.
Graca Machel, the widow of Nelson Mandela
Reports that the widow Graca Machel was intimidated by the Mandela children to leave the Houghton home she shared with Nelson Mandela were quelled as rubbish. As the family fighting over the estate continues, there were reported incidents to have Graca evicted from the Houghton home.
The Royal family and elders issued a statement and urged the Mandela children and grandchildren to respect Graca Machel and raised the awareness of how she remained a devoted partner to Nelson Mandela. The elders have condemned the disrespectful manner in which Graca has been treated by the Mandela children. He emphasized that it is a insult not to show respect and by following that trend it undermined their culture.
The elders have urged the family to dedicate this time to the mourning of Nelson Mandela and remain peaceful.
The elders said they were aware that the process of the Nelson Mandela estate would take time to administer and that all assets stay where they are until this is finalized.
There is a concern for the instability within the Mandela family and the elders continue to call for calm and respect during this nasty public spat over the Mandela heritage and leadership of a fractured family.
By Laura Oneale