With all eyes on the Pretoria Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela fights for his life, a legal drama has been unfolding at his home in Qunu, Eastern Cape. On Friday, the Eastern Cape High Court ordered Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, to return the remains of three of the iconic statesman’s children to the family burial grounds in Qunu.
In 2011, without prior consultation with the rest of the family, Mandla Mandela exhumed the remains of Makgatho, Thembekile and Makaziwe Mandela from their places of rest in Qunu. He moved them to another burial site in Mvezo. Mandla Mandela is the chief of Mvezo. It has been widely reported that freedom icon Nelson Mandela had expressed that he wished to be buried in Qunu. The Mandela family wants his children to be returned to the Qunu family plot to be close to their father whenever he passes away.
The family launched an urgent interdict against Mandla Mandela behind closed doors in the Eastern Cape High Court. The court ruled in favor of the Mandela family and Judge Lusindiso Phakade handed down the judgment. The remains of Mandela’s three children and two close relatives must be moved back to Qunu.
Close family friend, UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa, confirmed that the family had tried to resolve the issue of the remains during recent gatherings. The issue of the remains as well as Nelson Mandela’s state of health were the main points of discussion at the meetings held in Qunu in the past few days. At some point, Mandla Mandela walked out during a meeting.
In the days leading up to his hospital admission the man who has worked for peace, freedom and equality was taken to court by his daughters over ownership of his assets. Now, as Nelson Mandela battles a recurring lung condition that has him in critical condition, his family continues to bicker among themselves.