Tutu comments hurt Mandla Mandela

2014-04-29 17:14

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The late former president Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, has slammed Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for saying he was “glad” that the struggle icon was no longer alive.

Mandla, the chief of Mvezo, was speaking during the official handing over of a 10km road and bridge named after his grandfather in Mvezo today, the Nkosi Dalibhunga Mandela Legacy Bridge.

He said he was disappointed by leaders such as Tutu who were using his grandfather’s name to predict the demise of the ANC.

“I was very hurt when I read the paper on Sunday, where it is said that Bishop Tutu is glad that Madiba is dead. That headline will never, never be erased in my memory.

“We as the Mandela family take exception to that, particularly when Mama Graça Machel is still mourning the loss of her husband,” Mandla said.

He was responding to a statement, attributed to Tutu – Madiba’s long-time friend – that he was glad Madiba was not here to witness the slow pace of transformation.

He said Madiba was an inspiration to the whole world and a symbol of hope.

“He [Madiba] left a lasting legacy wherever he went. We are proud of him as the nation and none of us can say we are happy now that he is gone. We know his time had come and nothing could be done about that. But if there was a person we could clone, it would be the late Madiba,” he said.

Mandla, an ANC MP, said Madiba died a devoted member of the ANC.

“While there are those that are praying for the demise of the ANC, when my grandfather departed he said when he reaches heaven, he will open the first branch of the ANC.

“I want to say to those priests and bishops who say they are praying for the demise of the ANC: Our hope is with Madiba because he has already opened the first branch of the ANC in heaven,” Mandla said.

He said a lot of progress has been made by the ANC government since his grandfather became president in 1994.

At the opening of the bridge and road, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti announced that the road, which currently ends at Mvezo Great Place where Mandla is based, will be extended through the villages of Mvezo and other villages up to Elliotdale.

Nkwinti said a garden of memory would be built along the new road to honour Madiba.

“The people of Mvezo must decide what form this garden of memory will take. It must be an expression of freedom,” Nkwinti said.

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