Mandela’s death a loss to AbaThembu and Xhosa royal houses, says king

2013-12-13 16:15

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Mandela’s death is a loss to the royal house of the AbaThembu and the Xhosa, said Xhosa king Zwelonke Sigcawu after paying his respects at the Mandela home in Qunu.

“We went there to thank the family for Mandela and his work. He was close to my father, former king Xolilizwe Sigcawu, so I had to pay my respects,” said the king.

Speaking on behalf of the king, Xhanti Sigcawu said Mandela’s daughters, grandchildren, AbaThembu elders and close family friend Bantu Holomisa were present at today’s visit.

“There has been no change in the family’s state of mourning,” said Xhanti Sigcawu.

He said when Mandela was arrested and taken away for 27 years it hurt both houses, but Madiba had to do it for the freedom that we enjoy today.

The king’s spokesperson went to great lengths to explain that the two tribes were not the same and that the Xhosa had no say in how Mandela was buried.

“The king will only be a dignitary like everyone else. We have no role in the burial and won’t get involved in Thembu business. We hope everyone will respect that,” Xhanti Sigcawu said.

He also said he did not know if AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo would play a role at the funeral and would not be drawn into commenting on speculation that he would not attend the funeral.

“As far as we know he should be at the funeral, he is the AbaThembu king,” said Xhanti Sigcawu.

After the briefing, Sigcawu answered questions about Mandela’s body lying in state in Pretoria and how Mthatha locals feel about it.

“According to custom, the body is first only seen by family when they close the deceased’s eyes. It is taken to a mortuary and only visited by family. Close friends only see the body during the morning of the burial. We have never seen this happen, but if the family and government see it fit, we have no say. It is also understandable that the locals would be dissatisfied that they weren’t afforded the same opportunity as those in Pretoria,” he said.

The king made an appeal to all media and mourners to respect the day on which Mandela will be buried and refrain from infringing on the family’s privacy and customs that had to be observed.

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