Mandela's great-grandson remembers jokes, laughter

2013-12-12 07:17
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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

Mvezo - Jokes, laughter and inspiration were some of the fondest memories 19-year-old Mayibuye Mandela has of his great-grandfather former president Nelson Mandela.

"My greatest memory of Dhalibhunga [the praise name for Mandela] is sharing jokes, laughing and the inspiration we as a family got from him," Mayibuye said on Wednesday in Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape.

"The old man always told us that we must go to school, because education was the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. He didn’t just say that to the Mandelas, but to everyone globally.

"That is why everyone feels sad about great-grandfather’s passing on earth, because he was not just a father for the Mandelas, but for the whole nation. He was there for the world."

Sitting reminiscing on the stoep of Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela's homestead in Mvezo, Mayibuye said it was special that one man could touch the hearts of so many people around the world.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night, at the age of 95. His official funeral will be held in Qunu, about 30km from Mvezo, on Sunday.

Mayibuye Mandela said he was especially touched that people had travelled from overseas as soon as they heard of the death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

'When they heard the icon had passed, they stopped what they were doing and they came. It shows respect and how grateful they are for what Dhalibhunga did."

Honouring Madiba

The best way to honour Mandela and to ensure his legacy lived on was to follow in his footsteps and to ensure his spirit could live on, the 19-year-old said as he stared into the open fields under a light rain.

"We need to make sure his legacy continues. Long live the spirit of Madiba. We must use the freedom Dhalibhunga fought for," he said.

"We must be grateful and respect what he did for us."

He said he was determined to follow in Mandela’s footsteps and planned to study political science at university because he wanted to be a politician to bring about even more change.

He said he was currently attending Qunu Junior Secondary School, the same school his great-grandfather attended.

"I want to follow the footsteps of the old man."

He said that growing up with the Mandela surname was something that made him really proud and happy, because he knew his great-grandfather had fought for a better future for everyone.

"He was the father to everyone," Mayibuye said, smiling.

Memorial service

Speaking about the memorial service held on Tuesday at FNB Stadium, in Johannesburg, and which was attended by world leaders and celebrities, the young Mandela said it made him happy to see and hear great leaders like US President Barack Obama speak about his great-grandfather.

"It was amazing and made me very happy, but on the other side I was sad because the tree has fallen," he said.

"Barack Obama quoted Dhalibhunga. That shows that even the global community learned from the old man that we must do the right thing and respect everyone the same.

"Knowing my great grandfather touched so many people including leaders like Obama makes me very happy."

He said he could relate to Obama’s speech because it was important to him as the great-grandchild of Madiba for people to take his legacy forward and to build on what he left behind.

He was amazed that the elders in Mvezo had braved the rainy and cold weather without shelter to watch the live screening of the memorial service together outside in a field.

"What he [Mandela] preached inside the house in Qunu, he also preached to everyone. So I am sure everyone learned something from my great grandfather, like we did as a family."

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  east london

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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.