Nelson Mandela has been clinging to life in a South African hospital, but as his condition reportedly improves the family of the former president is entrenched in a fight over where Mandela will be buried.
Reports say a family feud has started over where to bury the anti-Apartheid leader. Nelson Mandela’s oldest daughter, Makaziwe, filed a court petition along with 15 other family members to force his grandson, Mandla Mandela, to return the bodies of three of Nelson’s children to their original graves.
Mandla is a tribal leader in the Mandela family and the heir to Nelson Mandela. He admitted to re-burying three bodies in Mzevo village, where he wants to build a Mandela shrine, hotel, and soccer stadium.
Nelson Mandela has made it clear he wanted to be buried on a remote hillside in his ancestral home of Qunu.
“He never gave death a great deal of thought, but he never wanted anything fancy,” a friend of the Mandela family said.
Mandela had lived in Qunu until he was sent to the hospital a number of times with complications from the tuberculosis he contracted while spending close to three decades in a labor camp. Nelson Mandela went to his son’s burial in Qunu in 2005, and it was expected he would be buried there as well.
Mandla Mandela appeared to go against those wishes, exhuming the bodies of three of Mandela’s children to bring them to Mvezo, where the former president was born. Mandla has authority Mvezo, serving as chief.
As the family feud plays out, Nelson Mandela’s condition has reportedly been improving.
“I’m not a doctor but I can say that from what he was a few days ago there is great improvement,” said Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson’s ex-wife and a member of South Africa’s Parliament.
On Saturday some of the family members of Nelson Mandela put a stop to the feud to meet with President Barack Obama. Mandla has until Sunday to respond to the court petition.