Mandela wedding drama

2010-03-21 10:06

THE traditional wedding of chief Mandla Mandela went well yesterday

despite last-minute hiccups that nearly derailed it.

Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former President Nelson ­Mandela,

got married at his Mvezo homestead in the Eastern Cape to Reunion Islands

citizen Anais Grimaud.

The news of the wedding was kept hush-hush for a while and

­invitations were sent mainly by SMS. But things took a dramatic turn on Friday

when Mandla’s current wife Thando – who married him in 2006 and is divorcing her

husband – tried to stop the wedding at the ­Mthatha High Court.

Thando’s lawyer argued that the wedding should not go ahead as

Mandla,who is known by his royal name Zwelivelile, was still legally married to

her. The ­lawyer also argued that the matrimonial ceremony would effectively

entitle Grimaud to a portion of the R5 million the chief is said to have in his

bank account.

But Mandla’s lawyers argued that people had travelled from as far

afield as France and that dignitaries were expected to attend the traditional


The lawyers also argued that the actual wedding had taken place in

December last year when Grimaud was welcomed into the family and given her Xhosa

marital name, ­Nobubele.

Judge Zamani Nhlangulela ­ordered that the ceremony should go

ahead, but ruled that Mandla could only withdraw half the R5 million in his

account as the couple was married in community of property.

The case was postponed until April 15 for the chief, who is also an

ANC MP, to show cause why it should not be made a permanent ­order of the


The colourful ceremony took place at the place where the famous

statesman was born. Mandla danced with his peers outside the rock-hedged cattle

kraal until yesterday afternoon.

Relatives and friends of the bride watched the Xhosa dancing and

singing in awe. Three cattle and 30 sheep were said to have been


Among the guests who arrived early were President Jacob Zuma’s

youngest wife Thobeka Madiba and local kings Mpendulo Sigcawu and Lwandile


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