Mandela annouced to King Jongintaba

By Drum Digital
15 December 2013

AbaThembu dynasty chief performed a ritual to announce the arrival of former President Nelson Mandela’s body in Qunu to the ancestor that raised him.

Chief Thembinkosi Mtirara of Mqhekezweni village performed a ritual at the grave site where Regent King Jongintaba Mtirara is buried to announce Mandela’s body’s arrival and ask for his blessings ahead of the late icon’s funeral on Sunday.

Mandela’s body was flown from the Waterkloop Air Force Base in Pretoria to Mthatha Airport in a military jet yesterday.

Chief Thembinkosi, a descendent of Jongintaba – the man who raised a nine-year-old Mandela and also credited with honing his leadership skills – said the ritual was a necessary traditional procedure if the burial ceremony was to proceed well.

“It is traditionally and customarily within us as Africans that, each time, we take a step within the family in times of funerals to inform the ancestors of an incident that has happened, be it a good or bad thing,” said Chief Thembinkosi.

“It would’ve been wrong of us not to inform them. It is possible that we would have visions and dreams requiring us to perform the ritual even at a later stage should we have omitted it.

“Part of what I was saying to the ancestors was to sort of ask to them to be with us tomorrow. We wouldn’t want to witness unnecessary dangers that might portray us in a negative light to the outside world, especially now that the world has come to share the grief with us.”

The chief also said Mandela’s death has united a usually divided AbaThembu Royal House, often marred by public spats between Mvezo chief and Mandela’s grandson Mandla and AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

“A family is more united when there’s a passing of one of its members. It’s common of family members to be at loggerheads with one another but the mere passing over of one of them is, in my view, the point wherein the warring camps come together as one and let bygones be bygones,” he said.

-By Suprise Mazibila and S’thembiso Hlongwane

Pictures by: Mduduzi Ndzingi

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