Mandla’s first wife to attend funeral

2013-12-15 10:00

Mandla Mandela’s estranged first wife, Thando Mabunu-Mandela, will attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral today – as a guest of Thembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

Mabunu-Mandela’s lawyer, Wesley Hayes, confirmed to City Press that she would form part of Dalindyebo’s delegation at the funeral today.

“I can confirm that Thando and myself are going to the funeral with the king,” Hayes said.

He also confirmed that they will both spend Saturday night at the king’s Bumbane Great Place home, as his guests.

“We are just sorting out accreditation for her, but yes we will be at the funeral to pay our last respects to the old man,” Hayes said.

It’s a move sure to intensify the animosity between Dalindyebo and Mandla Mandela.

Mandla and his first wife have been fighting each other since 2009 when divorce proceedings began – they are yet to reach a settlement and finalise the divorce. The relationship between the two could be described as frosty.

“The king has ordered that Nodayimane [Mabunu-Mandela’s bridal name] be in Qunu to attend the funeral. The king

believes this is what Tata

[Mandela] would have wanted. There is nothing sinister about this.

“She will form part of the king’s entourage to the funeral,” said an aide to Dalindyebo who is privy to the arrangements to fetch Mabunu-Mandela from her home in Cofimvaba.

Mandla and Dalindyebo, who both belong to the amaDlomo royal house, are known to be sworn enemies, with Dalindyebo refusing to recognise Mandla’s chieftainship, while Mandla is alleged to be orchestrating Dalindyebo’s dethroning as king.

Mandla has previously called on Dalindyebo to leave him alone, calling him a “delusional incumbent, smoking all sorts of things” – a reference to the king’s love for dagga.

City Press was reliably informed yesterday that Dalindyebo would honour the late former president Mandela with a leopard skin, which will be wrapped around his coffin along with the South African flag.

The king was also planning to present England’s Prince Charles with a leopard skin at the funeral today.

A number of cars, traffic officers and police vehicles could be seen at Bumbane Great Place yesterday morning ahead of Dalindyebo’s departure to the Mthatha Airport, where he was to formally welcome and receive the body of Madiba before guiding his spirit to his ancestral home of Qunu, as per Thembu traditions.

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