Mandela's cousin dies

2012-07-11 20:02
Former president Nelson Mandela \at his home in Qunu( Lulamile Feni, Nelson Mandela Foundation, AFP)

Former president Nelson Mandela \at his home in Qunu( Lulamile Feni, Nelson Mandela Foundation, AFP)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has conveyed his condolences to former president Nelson Mandela on the death of his cousin and childhood playmate, the presidency said on Wednesday.

Sitsheketshe Morris Mandela died at the age of 80 in the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, in Mthatha, at 06:00 on Wednesday morning, of lung cancer, said Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory spokesperson Sello Hatang.

He had been admitted to the hospital on Friday.

The centre said Sitsheketshe's mother and Mandela's mother were sisters.

Sitsheketshe's mother died at childbirth and he grew up with Mandela in the same household, spokesperson Sello Hatang said in a statement.

Sitsheketshe recalled his childhood with Mandela in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, in Anna Trapido's book Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the life of Nelson Mandela.

"We boys had everything we needed from the cattle and fields," he was quoted as saying.

"I was younger than him [Mandela] so [he] used to send me out to collect the cattle and then he used to milk the cattle himself, and also take corn and grind it with a stone and we would eat it with amasi (sour milk)."

Sitsheketshe continued: "We seldom bought anything edible but we lacked for nothing."

The centre sent its condolences to the Mandela family.

Details of Sitsheketshe's burial were yet to be announced.

The ANC Youth League also sent its condolences to the Mandela family.

"The ANCYL is deeply saddened by the loss in a family that holds substantial wisdom and history of the ANC, and has made such a vast contribution to the landscape of struggle and political freedom," it said in a statement.

"Tata Morris Mandela has held the fort for the family in Qunu, especially during the difficult times of Madiba's ill health among other family matters, of which he has remained central."
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