Qunu besieged by media ahead of Mandela Day

2012-07-17 16:30
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Clinton visits Mandela

Former US president Bill Clinton has paid former president Nelson Mandela a visit at his home in the Eastern Cape village of Qunu. See the pictures.

Cape Town - Nelson Mandela's hometown of Qunu was besieged by media on Tuesday ahead of the ex-president's birthday.

Close friends and family were seen being smuggled into Mandela's home by convoys of vehicles while photographers positioned themselves outside the entrance, and attempted to follow exiting vehicles in hopes of confirming whoever had visited Madiba.

Across the N2 highway from Mandela's house is the home of close family relative Silumko Mandela, who says he had been bothered since last week by the media making enquiries.

"Look, those guys come here often, but at one time the chief in the village told us to be kind to visitors, so we are.

"The journalists are here to record the history of our own son, uMadiba Omhle [the great Madiba]," he said.

Silumko said he was waiting for a call from chief Mandla Mandela, the former president's grandson, to tell him about Wednesday's  proceedings.

"By now, we would usually be knowing what is happening tomorrow, but I do think Mandla has been too busy. Since his arrival, there have been number of things in the family," said Silumko.

The guest list for Wednesday's lunch with Mandela has been closely guarded. Only key employees and local caterers are allowed entry into the homestead.

Inside the Mandela yard, a South African flag was seen hanging high. It is known among villagers that when the flag is up, Mandela is home and is feeling "sound and well".

About 1km from the house, events are underway at the Nelson Mandela Museum.

On Tuesday, the focus was on legacies and the state of archives in honour of Nelson Mandela.

Reverend Frank Chikane and African National Congress chairperson Baleka Mbete were scheduled to give speeches on Tuesday, said museum spokesperson Nokuzola Tetani.
Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  mandla mandela  |  east london

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