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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More