Mandelas spoiling for a fight

2015-01-04 15:00

Guests expect “sparks to fly” when the Mandela family meets in Qunu on January 16 to discuss, among other things, Mandla Mandela’s role and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s claim to her late ex-husband’s home in the Eastern Cape village.

At least one of those members invited to attend the meeting has told City Press he’ll be taking his umnqayi, a walking stick carried by men in rural areas, in case things get out of hand.

“I have no doubt sparks will fly in that meeting. One would have to be prepared, given what almost happened in the previous meeting,” said the source.

He was referring to a previous family meeting in Qunu on December 6, at which some members of the Mandela family nearly came to blows.

After that tumultuous gathering, Mandla’s younger brother Ndaba announced that Daludumo Mtirara, a close Mandla ally, had been barred from speaking on behalf of the family.

It has emerged that two separate slaughtering ceremonies to mark the end of the mourning period for Madiba, who died on December 5 2013, had been held.

Mandla presided over one and his brother the other.

A furious Mtirara said this week he hadn’t been gagged and called Ndaba “childish”. According to him, custom dictated only Mandla could use the traditional family spear to slaughter a cow.

“This meeting must say, once and for all, that Mandla is the head of this family’s customs. There is no custom that can be performed without him,” Mtirara said.

“Ndaba is childish and doesn’t know our customs. We want to teach him how things are done.”

But his relative, Mfundo Mtirara, a clan nephew of former president Mandela who is closely allied with Ndaba and Madikizela-Mandela, decried the January 16 meeting.

Mfundo, a spokesperson for AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, said only the king could call such a meeting.

All the representatives of the houses of the AbaThembu’s royal family, the AmaDlomo, have been invited to the meeting.

But Mfundo said: “We are not going to that meeting. Only the king can call such a meeting, not Mandla or his puppets, who want to rubber-stamp him as family head.”

Neither Mandla nor Ndaba could be reached for comment.

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