News / Africa

    Mandela Family Feuds with Leader in Hospital

    Cards and flowers are left outside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, where the ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
    Cards and flowers are left outside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, where the ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
    Anita Powell
    South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela’s legacy is one of forgiveness and reconciliation, as the leader who urged that the people of his fractured nation set aside their differences. But, in recent days, the Mandela clan has been engaging in very public spats over several issues.

    Nelson Mandela won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end apartheid and reconcile South Africans.

    But as the anti-apartheid icon remains in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital, his family has in recent days shown that they are anything but peaceful and united.

    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela addresses the media in front of the house of her former husband and former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, June 28, 2013.Winnie Madikizela-Mandela addresses the media in front of the house of her former husband and former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, June 28, 2013.
    x
    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela addresses the media in front of the house of her former husband and former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, June 28, 2013.
    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela addresses the media in front of the house of her former husband and former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, June 28, 2013.
    Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, held an impromptu press conference in Soweto on Friday, during which she chastised the press for being overly nosy about Mandela’s health.

    Over the weekend, Madikizela-Mandela lashed out at the ruling African National Congress, which claims Mandela as their leader emeritus. That escalated into a public spat between her and the ANC.

    This is happening against the backdrop of two recent legal battles involving the Mandela family, including a Monday court hearing in which at least 17 family members are battling over where clan members’ remains should be interred.

    On Monday, grandson Mandla Mandela appeared in court after 16 family members challenged his 2011 decision to move the remains of three of Mandela’s children to Mvezo, the town where Mandela was born and where Mandla Mandela is the chief.

    The graves had previously been in Qunu, the nearby town where Mandela spent much of his childhood and where he settled in his retirement. The challenging family members want them moved back.

    Mandla Mandela did not answer repeated calls seeking comment.

    Granddaughter Ndileka Mandela, center, gestures as she and other family relatives carry bunches of flowers that were left by wellwishers into the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, June 27, 2013.Granddaughter Ndileka Mandela, center, gestures as she and other family relatives carry bunches of flowers that were left by wellwishers into the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, June 27, 2013.
    x
    Granddaughter Ndileka Mandela, center, gestures as she and other family relatives carry bunches of flowers that were left by wellwishers into the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, June 27, 2013.
    Granddaughter Ndileka Mandela, center, gestures as she and other family relatives carry bunches of flowers that were left by wellwishers into the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, June 27, 2013.
    These clashes seem to have put the nation in the strange position of defusing the heated rhetoric among this warring clan -- and reminding them of their common goal. Here’s presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.

    “I think we need to bring down the tone and help them to live within their own views and their own understanding, as well as to guard the privacy and the dignity of the moment,” Maharaj said.

    Reports of family feuding have gripped the nation because South Africans seem to regard Mandela as a member of their own family. Many South Africans refer to Mandela as “Tata” -- father -- or by his clan name, Madiba, which is a sign of affection and respect.

    So when Winnie Madikizela-Mandela this weekend accused the ruling ANC of exploiting Mandela in April by airing footage of the frail, aging icon, the ANC fired back much like an indignant relative.

    “The remarks that have been made by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela are indeed unfortunate," party spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni-Khawe responded. "We regard them at the ANC as extremely regrettable. And we think that they would have missed, in essence, what the ANC was trying to share with the people of South Africa and the world. So we have said that we are not going to be responding further to these issues as we think that all of us should rally behind Tata Mandela while he is in hospital at this time.”

    Local elders have chimed in, telling local media that they believe Mandela’s continued illness has been caused by a “curse” put on the family by the unhappy dead ancestors.

    Sangoni-Khawe, the spokeswoman for the ANC, urged South Africans to focus on more important issues.

    “The issues that surround I think what is happening with his family and the discussions around reburial, I think they should not be a focus point at this time," Sangoni-Khawe said. "All of us should be looking at ensuring that Tata recovers, he gets out of hospital and he is reunited with his family, and hopefully, able to assist them in resolving the challenges they face at this time.”

    Daughter Zenani Dlamini-Mandela, left, with granddaughters Swati Dlamini, second right, and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, right, and an unidentified family member arrive at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital , June 19, 2013.Daughter Zenani Dlamini-Mandela, left, with granddaughters Swati Dlamini, second right, and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, right, and an unidentified family member arrive at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital , June 19, 2013.
    x
    Daughter Zenani Dlamini-Mandela, left, with granddaughters Swati Dlamini, second right, and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, right, and an unidentified family member arrive at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital , June 19, 2013.
    Daughter Zenani Dlamini-Mandela, left, with granddaughters Swati Dlamini, second right, and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, right, and an unidentified family member arrive at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital , June 19, 2013.
    But it is clear that the Mandela family will remain in the limelight even as their patriarch’s health diminishes.

    Perhaps the family’s complicated relationship with publicity is best summed up by one of Mandela’s granddaughters.

    Swati Dlamini appealed to the world to “give us the privacy to deal” with her grandfather’s failing health.   She said that on an episode of a reality show in which she stars, called “Being Mandela.”

    • Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, holds a candle during a prayer service for the ailing Mandela at a church in Johannesburg, July 5, 2013. 
    • Ndaba Mandela (R), one of former South African President Nelson Mandela's grandsons, and an unidentified companion leave the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where the former president is being treated, in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • Well-wishers pray in support of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela in front of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013.
    • Daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, leaves after visiting the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • Well-wishers post messages outside the hospital where ailing former President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • A well-wisher weeps as he pays his respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
    • Boys hold a candle as they pay their respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
    • Men stand next to a banner covered with portraits of Nelson Mandela to a wall outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
    • A well-wisher pays respect to ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
    • Granddaughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Tukwini Mandela are surrounded by the media outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
    • Children release 95 white balloons to mark the upcoming birthday of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.