Mandela’s family, ex-wife Winnie, clash over successor

Sombre: South Africa's current president Jacob Zuma sitting between Winnie Mandela and Graca Machel

The AbaThembu royal family was outraged over the statement by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela that Makaziwe Mandela was now the head of the Mandela family, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported yesterday.

“Winnie Madikizela-Mandela misled the public about the custom of the Kingdom of AbaThembu,” spokesperson Chief Daludumo Mtirara was quoted saying.

Mtirara said former president Nelson Mandela pronounced to the Thembu nation six years ago that his grandson Mandla Mandela was the head of the family and the traditional spear was handed over to him.

“The royal family of the Kingdom of AbaThembu recognises Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela as the head of the Mandela family,” he said.

On Wednesday, Madikizela-Mandela expressed disappointment at the media’s interference with the matters of the Mandela family.

She said through her spokesperson, Thato Mmereki, that there was no succession or dynasty debate in the Mandela family.

Nelson Mandela died on 5 December in his Houghton home in Johannesburg and was buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

Mandela was survived by his three daughters Makaziwe, Zenani Dlamini-Mandela and Zindziswa Mandela.

In her statement Madikizela-Mandela said in accordance with customary law and tradition, the eldest daughter, Makaziwe, would head the family and would make decisions with the support of her two sisters.

“To this end there is no misunderstanding, or debate. Mr Mandla Mandela is respected as one of Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren, the next generation of the Mandela family,” Mmereki said in a statement at the time.

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