End of an era as widow of Mandela childhood friend dies

2016-01-28 20:30
Nozolile Mtirara. (Picture: Supplied)

Nozolile Mtirara. (Picture: Supplied)

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Johannesburg - The last member of former President Nelson Mandela's generation raised by the abaThembu regent has died.

The woman, uMakhuluMamyirha Nozolile Mtirara, was 94. She was the widow of Madiba's childhood friend, Nkosi Zwelivumile Justice Mtirara.

The announcement was made by the current abaThembu Regent at Mqhekezweni Great Place on Thursday.

As a child, Madiba was taken in by Nkosi Jongintaba at Mqhekezweni after the death of his father, Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela.

According to abaThembu, a young Mandela formed a close friendship with the regent's son, Justice Mtirara, with whom he ran away to Johannesburg to escape their arranged marriages.

Justice Mtirara returned home after the passing of his father, Nkosi Jongintaba, and married Makhulu Nozolile whom his father had chosen for him.

"After his release from prison, Madiba had a beautiful face brick home built for Makhulu Nozolile to thank her for the years she had kept the home fires burning at Mqhekezweni Great Place.

"For many years, whenever he travelled to the Transkei, the former President went out of his way to visit the widow of his great childhood friend."

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, grandson of Madiba, said that Makhulu Nozolile's passing brought down the final curtain on a generation of extraordinary people linked to Nkosi Jongintaba and Mqhekezweni.

"Nkosi Jongintaba not only raised my grandfather, and Nkosi Zwelivumile Justice Mtirara, of course, but also the future King Sabata Dalindyebo, and Bazindluvu Holomisa."

Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.

Read more on:    nelson mandela

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