Uhuru-Spirit News

THEMBU CHIEF SLAMS WINNIE

December 20, 2013 | UhuruSpirit

Mandla Mandela



In terms of abaThembu custom Madiba’s grandson Mandla Mandela, should be the head of the family now that his grandfather is dead.

A senior member of the Mandela family, chief Mfundo Bhovulengwe Mtirara, was responding to a statement by Madiba’s former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Wednesday that the family’s eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela will now be heading the Mandela family.

Madikizela-Mandela, through her spokesperson, Thato Mmereki, said: “Mrs Madikizela-Mandela would like to place it on record that there is no succession or dynasty debate in the Mandela family.”

She said Madiba had three daughters, Makaziwe Mandela, Zenani Dlamini-Mandela and Zindziswa Mandela.

“In accordance with customary law and tradition the eldest daughter being Makaziwe Mandela, will head the family and will make decisions with the support of her two sisters (Zenani and Zindziswa).

To this end there is no misunderstanding or debate. Mandla Mandela is respected as one of Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren, the next generation of the Mandela family,” Madikizela-Mandela said.

But Mtirara, who speaks on behalf of the abaThembu royal kingdom, disagreed. “In our Thembu custom, Mandla Mandela is supposed to head the Mandela family. Despite any differences that the Mandela family might have, chief Zwelivelile (Mandla) is the one who is supposed to take the lead,” Mtirara said.

Traditional Affairs researcher and an author of Iziduko zamaXhosa (Xhosa clan names), Mpumelelo Makuliwe, said according to Thembu and Xhosa customs, Madikizela-Mandela should not speak on behalf of the Mandela family.

“We have been told she is the former wife, and customs are clear that Madikizela-Mandela was not even supposed to wear those mourning clothes because Graça Machel is the current wife.

“Yes it was right that she attended the funeral but not wear mourning clothes,” he said.

Dr Nokuzola Mndende of the Icamagu Institute, said singling women alone to head the family affairs was “Western”. Mndende said customary law encourages collective leadership in the family. “The eldest son of the family should work together with the eldest daughters and head the family,” said Mndende.

Meanwhile, Mandela’s grandchildren, Ndileka and Nandi, from his first son, Thembi, yesterday called for the media to respect their period of mourning. Ndileka said family elders had asked them not to engage in any media conferences or speak out in public until the families mourning period was over.

She asked the media to leave them to “grieve in peace” and warned family members to stop feeding information to the media about family matters.

“Whoever has been making utterances to the media does not respect us,” she said.

Mandla’s spokesperson, Freddy Pilusa, said the chief of Mvezo would not respond to Madikizela-Mandela’s statement. Makaziwe Mandela could not be reached for comment.

It was unclear yesterday if Madikizela-Mandela had already left Qunu, but according to the Mandela family friend, Bantu Holomisa, she was to leave the family’s rural homestead on Wednesday while Madiba’s wife Graça was to remain in Qunu. - The New Age



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