Stop the bickering, AbaThembu leader urges Mandelas

2015-01-16 21:08
Mandla Mandela (Themba Hadebe, AP)

Mandla Mandela (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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East London - A senior leader within the AbaThembu royal family and cousin of former president Nelson Mandela has called for bickering in the family to stop and for people to respect the late statesman’s wishes.

Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, who City Press understood preceded over a planned family meeting, said matters discussed were family issues and are not be made public.

Matanzima did a vote of thanks on behalf of the Mandela family during Madiba’s funeral.

Most of the Mandela family members snubbed the meeting with only Mandela’s eldest grandson Mandla and some AbaThembu chiefs – understood to be close to Mandla – attending.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of a failed court interdict by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Madiba’s ex-wife wanted the gathering stopped amid fears of what she claims is potential violence and damage to the Qunu property.

But Madikizela-Mandela’s repeated attempts to stop the meeting through the courts, including threats by her lawyers to take the matter to the Constitutional Court, failed, resulting in Mandla having his way.

The meeting was meant to discuss the role of Mandla’s younger brother Ndaba in slaughtering a cow to mark the end of the mourning period for Madiba’s death in December and Madikizela-Mandela’s claim of the Eastern Cape property, among other matters.

It started just after 10:00 on Friday and ended at 15:00.

In December, two days after Ndaba had slaughtered a cow for izila, Mandla performed the same ritual, which embarrassed the family and laid bare their divisions.

Matanzima – who addressed the media following the meeting – was very cagey about what those who attended had discussed or their resolutions.

Mandla also refused to comment.

Matanzima, the chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, said matters discussed at the five-hour-meeting concerned only the Mandela family and not the AbaThembu nation.

He said other houses that were invited formed part of the core royal family of AbaThembu and had been approached to give guidance.

Matanzima said no one had a right to go against Madiba’s wishes, whether they attended the meeting or not.

He said issues that were being discussed were resolved by Madiba even before he died.

City Press understands that those at the meeting agreed that Ndaba had no right to slaughter a cow without Mandla’s blessings, as Mandla is the one who bears the spear of the Madiba family.

Those at the meeting are also thought to have decided that the Qunu house belonged to the entire Mandela family as per Madiba’s will.

Matanzima said the meeting in Qunu today had been peaceful with no violence or unruly behaviour.

“As we meet… we could not find any new wisdom from the decisions Madiba took regarding his family. We agreed in this meeting that the way [Mandela] planned his things and outlined his decisions, we can’t turn around and question them today,” he said in reference to Madiba’s will.

He added there could be no further discussions on the matter.

“This is a family matter. As elders and men gathered here, we have agreed that no one can change decisions taken by the late man [Madiba]. We have to respect his decisions even if we don’t agree with them. This matter from today going forward is settled forever,” he said.

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