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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid