News / Africa

'Mandela vs Mandela' Family Feud Sinks to Soap Opera Drama

Mandla Mandela (L), grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, talks to journalists during a news conference in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, July 4, 2013.
Mandla Mandela (L), grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, talks to journalists during a news conference in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, July 4, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— A feud between factions of Nelson Mandela's family descended into soap opera farce on Thursday when his grandson and heir, Mandla, accused relatives of adultery and milking the fame of the revered anti-apartheid leader.
 
In a news conference broadcast live on TV that stunned South Africans, Mandla Mandela confirmed rumors that his young son, Zanethemba, was in fact the child of an illicit liaison between his brother Mbuso and Mandla's now ex-wife Anais Grimaud.
 
With Mandela on life-support in a Pretoria hospital, the escalating feud has transfixed and appalled South Africa in equal measure as it contemplates the reality that the father of the post-apartheid “Rainbow Nation” will not be around forever.
 
“Mbuso impregnated my wife,” Mandla said in Mvezo, the Eastern Cape village 700 km (450 miles) south of Johannesburg where Mandela - now 94 years old and critically ill - was born and where Mandla serves as the formal chief of the clan.
 
Mandla, 39, first raised questions about his son's paternity last year when he split from French-speaking Grimaud, who has since moved back home to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. He also revealed then that he was unable to have children.
 
His attempts to get the family to address the questions of Zanethemba's paternity had been rebuffed in the interests of preserving a semblance of unity in South Africa's most famous family, Mandla said.
 
“This matter has never been discussed by the so-called members of the family who say that they want to ensure there is harmony in this family,” he said, challenging reporters to conduct DNA tests to confirm his allegations.
 
“The facts are there. You may go and find out, do the necessary tests that are needed,” he said. His brother Mbuso has denied being the father of the child.
 
Newspapers have plastered “Mandela vs. Mandela” headlines across their front pages and editorials have bemoaned the cruel irony of bitter divisions inside the family of a man lauded the world over as the epitome of reconciliation between races.
 
The government said that Mandela remained “critical but stable” after nearly four weeks in hospital.
 
“The Mandela Wagon”
 
The sleepy community of Mvezo, set amid the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape, has been at the center of a vicious dispute that may ultimately determine where South Africa's first black president will be laid to rest.
 
Two years ago, Mandla exhumed the bodies of three of Mandela's children from Qunu, where Mandela grew up, and moved them the 20 km to Mvezo, where Mandla has built a visitor center and a memorial center dedicated to his grandfather.
 
Mandla said he moved the bodies based on his right as chief to decide the final resting place of family members, especially his father Makgatho who died of an AIDS-related illness in 2005.
 
“I hold the right to determine where he is buried. I am the chief of Mvezo, as a traditional leader and the head of the royal house of Mandela,” said Mandla, dressed in a black leather jacket and red shirt.
 
Despite his assertions, many of South Africa's 53 million people believe the exhumations were part of a deliberate plan to ensure Mandela was buried in Mvezo.
 
A convoy of police and funeral vehicles approaches the home of Mandla Mandela, a grandson of ailing former S. African President Nelson Mandela, following a court hearing clearing the way to remove the remains of the former leader's children from his propeA convoy of police and funeral vehicles approaches the home of Mandla Mandela, a grandson of ailing former S. African President Nelson Mandela, following a court hearing clearing the way to remove the remains of the former leader's children from his prope
x
A convoy of police and funeral vehicles approaches the home of Mandla Mandela, a grandson of ailing former S. African President Nelson Mandela, following a court hearing clearing the way to remove the remains of the former leader's children from his prope
A convoy of police and funeral vehicles approaches the home of Mandla Mandela, a grandson of ailing former S. African President Nelson Mandela, following a court hearing clearing the way to remove the remains of the former leader's children from his prope
Last week, a rival faction of the family, led by Mandla's aunt Makaziwe and including Mbuso, won a court order for the bodies to be returned to Qunu - an edict carried out late on Wednesday after a last-minute legal bid by Mandla failed.
 
Speaking calmly and deliberately in front of a bank of cameras, Mandla lashed out at Makaziwe and members of the wider family, accusing them of trying to cash in on the legacy of one of the 20th century's most respected political figures.
 
“This is the very family that has taken their own father, their own grandfather, to court for his monies,” he said, referring to a long-running legal bid by Makaziwe to remove the guardians of a Mandela charitable trust.
 
“It seems like anyone and everyone can come and say 'I am a Mandela' and demand to be part of the decision-making in this family,” he said. “Individuals have abandoned their own families and heritage and decided to jump on the Mandela wagon.”
 
Makaziwe has declined to comment on the graves dispute, telling reporters that it is a “private family matter”.
 
The three Mandela children exhumed from Mvezo are an infant girl who died in 1948, a boy, Thembi, who died in a car crash in 1969, and Mandla's father, Makgatho. In all, Mandela fathered six children from his three marriages.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dan Edepi from: Kenya
July 05, 2013 1:43 AM
Mandla should not have parted with his wife because she was impregnated by his brother. In traditional African society this was the practice when your brother is impotent as Mandla has revealed he is. Then the children belonged to the clan. Wives also were the property of the clan. Being a traditional Chief he should have embraced this culture and even allowed other men in the clan to give it more children otherwise the clan will soon be no more and he will be reigning over mountains and vegetation and animals.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid