Guardian reporter, David Smith, describes what is happening as “civil war engulfing South Africa’s most famous family.”
Indeed, the South African Times newspaper front-page headline read “Mandela vs Mandela.” The leading culprit responsible for this internecine strife is Mandla Mandela, a grandson of Nelson.
The other family members claim that Mandla secretly stole the dead bodies of three of Nelson Mandela’s children in 2011 , and re-buried them in the village of Mvezo – his birthplace.
Mandla said that he was authorized to take such action by virtue of being the eldest male in the family, and according to tribal tradition.
The court disagreed , and judge Lusindso Pakada ordered that the bodies be exhumed. The main reason for the anger of the family is that they feel Mandla is seeking to capitalize on the reputation of his grandfather in order to make money.
He destroyed the hut in which Nelson Mandela was born to make space for entertainment facilities for tourists. These included a community hall, a cultural center, and a hostel for backpackers.
A criminal case is now pending and the police are investigating charges of grave tampering.
And, the ongoing saga doesn’t end there.
The exhumed bodies are having to undergo forensic testing today, Thursday, to ensure that they are, indeed, the children of Nelson Mandela. After testing, the remains will be taken to the village of Qunu – Mandela’s home village – for re-burial.
Throughout this unfolding ‘soap opera’ – as one columnist described it – 94 year old Mandela has been clinging to life, blissfully unaware of what his family are doing to his legacy.
It is certain that we have not yet seen the end of this sorry spectacle of a family tearing itself apart so publicly.
What do you think about Nelson Mandela’s grandson’s actions? Was he entitled, according to tribal custom, to do what he did? Tell us what you think in the comment feed below.
Video Via AFP