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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs