Mourning ribbons spark new Mandela fracas

2014-01-05 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Fresh hostilities have broken out in the family of the late former president Nelson Mandela?–?this time over mourning ribbons.

The AbaThembu royal family has entered the fray, expressing concerns that some members?–?notably grandsons Mandla and Ndaba?–?were not given amaqhosha, or mourning ribbons, to wear as tradition dictates.

Daludumo Mtirara, a senior member of the great house of the kingdom of AbaThembu, said in a statement this week that the exclusion of the brothers whom he described as “the core of the Mandela family” from wearing the black mourning ribbons was unacceptable.

Mtirara said they had noticed that Ndaba and Mandla were not wearing any mourning ribbons at a family meeting they had attended two days after Christmas.

The meeting was held to discuss the negative media reports about the Mandela family and their squabbles.

Mtirara said: “We also discussed Nobandla Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s recent statement about the head of the family. We agreed that she did not get the mandate from the elders and has no authority to discuss our culture, custom and tradition in the media.

“We decided to disregard her disrespectful statement and confirmed once again that Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela is the only point of entry to the Mandela house.”

Mtirara said the ribbons were important cultural symbols.

“The first thing the members identified was the non-appearance of the mourning ribbons, known as amaqhosha, on Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela and Zweliyajika Ndaba Mandela.

“We tried to find out why they did not have them on and we also became aware that there are other members of the family who do not have them. It was indicated that one of the family members was tasked to make and distribute them,” Mtirara said.

“We also found that the mourning ribbons are in Johannesburg and not all the family members would be issued with them.

“We concluded by stating that it is unacceptable and against our tradition to witness the isolation of the core of the Mandela family and other members of the family.”

On New Year’s Day, Mandla Mandela welcomed Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, who spent the day touring Mvezo and surrounding villages.

But while he has been entertaining royalty, Mandla Mandela has been isolated by his family.

His aunt Makaziwe ordered the locks of his Qunu house to be changed while he was in Pretoria for three days standing next to his grandfather’s body as it lay in state.

Mtirara said all family members needed to be given mourning ribbons urgently.

“It’s very strange and unheard of in our culture that the mourning ribbons are in Joburg because we expect them to be in Qunu where Madiba is buried, in line with AbaThembu traditions. We hope that by this weekend, all members of the family will be issued with the ribbons,” he said on Friday.

Mandla Mandela did not attend the family meeting at which the mourning ribbons were discussed, further evidence that the family was sidelining him, according to Mtirara.

“We find this unacceptable and against Thembu tradition,” he said.

Mandla Mandela did not respond to requests for comment.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.