Residents of Qunu feel left out at funeral

2013-12-14 00:00

AS the Qunu community prepares to view Madiba’s funeral proceedings on big screens tomorrow, traditionalists have different views on how the proceedings should be undertaken.

Traditionalist and director of Icamagu Institute Dr Nokuzola Mndende said the Qunu community had been treated unfairly and that the Mandela family had given in too easily.

“When he stayed in Qunu, Madiba used to walk around the village going to people’s houses. At Christmas he would invite people and children to his home and everyone would have fun. He was not an Englishman and he did not view his life as western. He did all this knowing that he was a statesman. Why are Qunu residents sidelined now? This is un-African,” said Mndende.

She said by returning to Qunu, Madiba demonstrated his bond with the people there, and that even death in incarceration would not have separated him from them.

“When he came out of prison after so many years his actions and demand to be buried in Qunu was a way to rekindle that bond. Now on his last day international guests are given priority at the expense of his own people. Why? Who will assist his children and grandchildren when they want to perform rituals? Definitely not the international community, but the neighbours. Government should at least have reserved a few hundred seats for the locals, and then the remaining thousands for the VIPs. They looked down on the people of Qunu,” she said.

Justice Department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga was yesterday reported saying the public and media would watch funeral proceedings on big screens about two kilometres from Madiba’s house, where the funeral will take place.

General secretary of the Professional Association for African Traditional Health Practitioners South Africa, Solly Nduku, said Madiba would expect that the word “family” included neighbours.

Madiba family member Chief Ngangomhlaba Mathanzima said Madiba was not buried as a Thembu chief.

“It is the first time in the history of this country we have a president with a royal bloodline. However, that is no reason for people to feel left out. All that’s needed is an understanding that protocol has to be observed,” he said.

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