News / Africa

Court Orders Mandela Family Remains Back to Initial Resting Place

Makaziwe Mandela, daughter of former S. African President Nelson Mandela, talks to her lawyers during the final court hearing concerning the removal of the remains of the former leader's children in the High Court of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, July 3, 2013.
Makaziwe Mandela, daughter of former S. African President Nelson Mandela, talks to her lawyers during the final court hearing concerning the removal of the remains of the former leader's children in the High Court of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, July 3, 2013.
Anita Powell
A South African court ruled Wednesday that Nelson Mandela’s grandson has just hours to move the bodies of three of Mandela’s deceased children back to the village of Qunu.  The battle over the burial place has grabbed headlines in South Africa, as the ailing Mandela remains in critical condition. 

As anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital, his family has grabbed headlines with a vicious legal battle that strikes morbidly close to home for the ailing leader.

Mandla Mandela, grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, sings during a church service near the home of the former president in Qunu, June 30, 2013.Mandla Mandela, grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, sings during a church service near the home of the former president in Qunu, June 30, 2013.
x
Mandla Mandela, grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, sings during a church service near the home of the former president in Qunu, June 30, 2013.
Mandla Mandela, grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, sings during a church service near the home of the former president in Qunu, June 30, 2013.
Two years ago, his grandson Mandla moved the bodies of three of Mandela’s deceased children to Mvezo, the town in the Eastern Cape province where Mandela was born and where Mandla Mandela is chief.

Some 16 Mandela relatives recently challenged that decision in court, saying that Mandla Mandela had not sought permission or even told them about the move.

The graves had previously been in Qunu, the nearby town where Mandela spent much of his childhood and where he settled in his retirement. 

On Wednesday, after a bitter and protracted battle, a judge in the Eastern Cape city of Mthatha ruled in favor of the family bloc.  Around noon, he ruled that Mandla Mandela had until 3 p.m. to return the bodies to their former resting place.

Mandla Mandela did not answer repeated calls seeking comment.  His aunt Makaziwe (also Mandela) was one of the family members who opposed him.

“This is a private Mandela issue, it will remain so.  I will not comment on it,” she said.

But the battle may not be over yet, said police spokesman Lt. Col. Mzukisi Fatyela.  He spoke to news agencies in Mthatha on Tuesday.

“The members of the family went to the station and they opened a case.  Now the case they opened is a tampering with the graves, against Mandla, and after the docket was opened we have started with our investigation but the docket will be sent to the senior public prosecutor for a decision," he said. "Then we will know exactly whether we need to continue with the prosecution or not.  But we will do our investigation and then the docket will be handed over to the senior prosecutor."

Mandela spent 27 years in prison for fighting South Africa’s apartheid system.  He was then elected South Africa’s first black president in the nation’s first all-inclusive elections in 1994.

The 94-year-old Nobel Peace laureate was taken to a Pretoria hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection.  He slid into critical condition 10 days ago and remains there.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid