Tempers flare in Qunu

2014-12-14 08:00

A Mandela family meeting in Qunu, Eastern Cape, last weekend degenerated into shouting, accusations and a near fistfight, four sources have told City Press.

Two of the sources attended the meeting, which was held as the family marked one year since Nelson Mandela’s death.

But things were so tense, two separate ceremonies of izila (the ending of the mourning period) were held: one, on Friday, saw Mandela’s younger grandson Ndaba preside over the slaughtering of a cow; and the second, on Sunday, saw Ndaba’s older brother Mandla do the same thing.

According to a source who was at the meeting on Saturday, some Mandelas demanded to know why one of Mandla’s allies, Daludumo Mtirara, was speaking about family matters.

“The meeting was very heated. People wanted to know who had appointed this Daludumo, who always speaks on family matters,” the source said.

“Things got so tense that Mandla had to intervene and come to Daludumo’s defence. It almost become physical.”

The source declined to say who had nearly come to blows.

“People were very upset that he went to the media calling Mama Winnie [Madikizela-Mandela] greedy because of her claim of the Qunu property.

“The family felt this was an internal matter and no one had given Daludumo a mandate to speak on the family’s behalf.”

Madikizela-Mandela, Mandela’s ex-wife, this week told reporters she didn’t know why the late statesman had left his Qunu home to his widow Graça Machel.

She added that Machel “owns a whole world” in her native Mozambique, and that the Qunu home was rightfully hers.

A second source who attended the meeting on Saturday said Machel wasn’t present as “she always feels left out because some members of the family deliberately speak in isiXhosa so she does not understand and needs interpretation”.

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