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.
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

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs