Mandela: Qunu feels snubbed

2013-12-15 14:00

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Residents of Madiba’s home village angered and disappointed at order to stay away from funeral.

Nelson Mandela’s village of Qunu was expected to come to a standstill this week as the former statesman’s body arrived in the Eastern Cape?–?but amid growing anger and unhappiness, life went on as usual.

Numerous Qunu residents are furious that they have been told to watch the funeral today at public viewing sites. They said yesterday that they feel slighted.

A shopkeeper who gave her name only as Nosisa said she no longer cared about the funeral.

“This is not how we do things. Every time there has been a funeral in that [the Mandela’s] home we have been called.

“We have supported them all this time and now they refuse us access to the most important funeral,” she said, shaking her head.

She left the shop to unpack a van filled with her stock and continued taking care of her customers.

Two elderly women dressed in traditional Xhosa attire boarded a van destined for another village?–?they were off to umgidi (a post-circumcision ceremony).

“We’ve been told to watch it on TV. The people who are coming are more important than us. Why should I stay here then?” asked one of the women angrily.

Some residents are going to the Mandela home to pay their respects, but are no less disappointed.

“Who will peel the vegetables and clean the tripe? We aren’t allowed to do anything,” said one woman outside the house.

But women wearing ANC-branded clothing, who said they had been waiting outside the house for hours, scolded her.

They said that Madiba belonged to everyone, not just the village of Qunu.

“You shouldn’t be unfair,” they told the woman who, soon afterwards, gathered her children together and left.

“As the ANC, we have come to share him too.

“You are lucky because, when all is done here, you can go and lay a stone at his grave. You can grieve at a later time,” said a woman who seemed to be the leader of the group.

As Qunu turned inward, people from other villages and towns in the Eastern Cape were arriving in numbers.

City Press has been reliably informed that some villagers have been enlisted as volunteers to help manage crowds inside and outside the Mandela home.

Security is tight too. Those who enter the house have been told by police and family elders to leave their phones and other gadgets outside.

Nothing is known about what these volunteers are doing inside the home, but they work from 8am and sometimes until midnight.

They are just the lucky few villagers who can be part of the final goodbye for Mandela while others have been left feeling hurt and disappointed.

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