Elders plead with ancestors over Madiba

2013-06-27 00:00

AS AbaThembu elders from former president Nelson Mandela’s rural village visited him in hospital yesterday, it was left to close family friend Bantu Holomisa to shed official light on what they believe is the cause of the ailing statesman’s continued suffering.

Holomisa — who was present at Tuesday’s family meeting in Qunu — told television broadcasters that “there are customs and traditions that need to be done to correct the many things that have been done wrong”.

He was referring to the fact that elders in the Mandela family attributed Madiba’s ill health and constant hospitalisation to the “wrath of ancestors”.

The “wrath” was caused by the 2011 removal of family graves to Madiba’s birthplace in Mvezo.

This was done by Madiba’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, who had removed the remains of Madiba’s children without consulting anyone.

Sources who attended the meeting said the elders had told the gathering that the Mandelas were being punished through making their beloved son (Nelson Mandela) suffer in hospital.

“We visited the gravesite to plead for their forgiveness and for them to tell us what to do during this difficult time,” the source said.

Holomisa confirmed that the meeting, which he described as cordial, had discussed this issue.

The UDM leader, who has been close to Madiba, also rubbished reports that Mandla Mandela had stormed out of the meeting.

“It was cordial. Mandla did not walk out and there was nothing untoward,” he told eNCA.

Late on Tuesday afternoon, elders in the Mandela family visited the gravesite in Qunu to plead for forgiveness from their ancestors and to spare Madiba more suffering.

Mandla Mandela was not present. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

After the gravesite visit it was decided that a delegation of elders would visit Mandela in hospital, the source said.

Nkosi Mfundo Mtirara, a relative and senior member of the Madiba clan who too was present at the meeting, confirmed he would visit Madiba.

“I will be going to see Tata in hospital. He cannot be alone at this hour of need. He needs AbaThembu and his family next to him,” Mtirara said.

In his reaction, ANC MP and Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA president Phathekile Holomisa told reporters in Mthatha that it was perhaps time for God to relieve Madiba from his pain and suffering.

“If Madiba is no longer enjoying life and is basically on life-support systems and therefore is not appreciative of what is happening, I think the Good Lord should take a decision to put him out of his suffering.”

Amid rumours on social media that Mandela had died, President Jacob Zuma kept his appointment to address a Nehawu conference.

He arrived 40 minutes after the starting time to a rousing welcome from the trade unionists.

He repeated that Madiba remained critical and that “We must keep him and the family in our thoughts and prayers every minute”.

After his speech Zuma led a struggle song about Mandela and Oliver Tambo taking up arms.

Zuma is scheduled to visit Mozambique today for a Southern African Development Community meeting, with U.S. President Barack Obama scheduled to arrive for a state visit tomorrow.

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