Controversial king visits Mandela

2013-07-09 14:52

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Controversial abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who has lashed President Jacob Zuma as a “traditionalist, Zulu boy”, visited ailing former president Nelson Mandela with other members of the royal house this afternoon.

Dalindyebo arrived a few minutes after other members of the Thembu royal house – including Chief Bovulengwe Mfundo Mtirara – had left.

Mtirara arrived with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in separate cars and they were followed by Nelson Mandela’s eldest child, Makaziwe Mandela.

Mbuso Mandela, who has been accused by his brother Mandla Mandela of fathering a child with Mandla’s wife, Anais Grimaud, was also at the hospital.

Dalindyebo, driving a Mercedez ML55 SUV, waved to reporters outside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Arcadia, Pretoria, before driving into the boomed entrance.

Dalindyebo has been in the news lately for blaming the president for the fact that he had joined the opposition DA.

Dalindyebo’s scathing attack on Zuma came as his own kingship was questioned by the Thembu royal house. It was reported that the king was unhappy about what he believed to be Zuma’s interference into the abaThembu affairs.

“Meanwhile, he himself is a drunk politician, a tribal leader pursuing tribalism, a Zulu boy from Nkandla. So I cannot respect a nonsensical Zulu boy who does not respect the royal house of abaThembu. This is how we’re going to treat him from now on, day in day out, for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” the king was quoted as saying last week.

Dalindyebo and Mandla Mandela have also been engaged in a war of words after the king called into question Mandla’s chieftaincy.

Yesterday, Mandla hit back at Dalindyebo, saying what he was smoking was affecting his thinking abilities.

About 20 minutes after Dalindyebo’s arrival today, Makaziwe left the hospital.

Also today, Zuma released a statement in which he thanked those who had gathered for prayers outside the hospital.

“We thank the public for the dignified gatherings outside he hospital. Many groupings and individuals have gathered in dignity, respecting the privacy of Madiba, other patients, their families or the hospital personnel. The prayer services around the country are also appreciated. We thank the international community as well for ongoing messages of support to Madiba and his family, said Zuma.

According to the statement, Madiba’s condition was still critical but stable.

Meanwhile, tributes continued to pour in at the wall outside the hospital which has become a shrine where well-wishers are leaving flowers, cards and messages for Madiba.

A school rugby team from King’s College, London, also visited the hospital and read emotional messages of support for Madiba.

The team, which is in South Africa to play against St Albans in Pretoria, said they wanted to show their support for “one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known”.

Tom Middlehurst, a team member, said he never thought he would react as emotionally to the visit as he did when they had planned the visit back home in London.

“Being here and seeing how he nation is reacting is overwhelming. He (Mandela) has inspired a nation and its people and a lot of people have been affected by him being in hospital,” said the 16-year-old.

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