South Africa: Family squabbles mar Mandela's legacy (Feature by Craig Urquhart, PANA Correspondent)

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – More than a year after global statesman Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in his birthplace of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, South Africa’s liberation hero remains in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

His former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, sparked the latest controversy when she attempted to block this week’s meeting by Mandela’s clan, the abaThembu royal family, because she feared violence could erupt.

Madikizela-Mandela in October claimed ownership of Mandela’s Qunu home despite the fact that she had been completely excluded from his will. Her application to the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha to block Friday’s meeting was struck off the roll as she did not own his Qunu property, as she had claimed.

The family united behind his grandson, Mandla, saying all decisions taken by the former president must be respected.

“Even if we don't want his decision, even if we disagree with it, we cannot change that,” said Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, which represents Mandela’s family.

Last year, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was humiliated when details emerged that its leaders in the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) were involved in money laundering and fraud relating to Mandela’s funeral.

Those arrested included the executive mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, deputy mayor Temba Tinta and council speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, who were charged with using funds earmarked for the funeral “for other purposes”. The case is still pending.

An enormous statue of Mandela was unveiled by President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 16 December,  the day after Mandela’s funeral but the occasion was overshadowed by the discovery of a small bronze rabbit in his ear. The sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, apologised and said the rabbit was a "small trademark" of their work.

The Department of Arts and Culture accepted their apology and the rabbit was removed.

Within weeks of his burial, details began emerging about family squabbling during the Nobel Laureate's last months alive. This was after his former personal assistant published a tell-all book which lifted the lid on the power struggles that marred his funeral.

Among the disturbing revelations in “Good Morning, Mr Mandela”, Zelda la Grange revealed that his widow, Graça Machel, had to get accreditation for her own husband's funeral. "I don't know of any person alive who has been treated with the amount of disrespect that people have shown towards Mrs Machel," wrote La Grange.

In addition, she noted that Makaziwe Mandela, Mandela's eldest daughter from his first marriage to Evelyn Mase, tauntingly referred to Machel as "Ms Frantic" following a press report that she had been frantic when an ambulance carrying her sick husband broke down enroute to a Pretoria hospital.

Despite these incidents, la Grange said nothing can cloud Mandela’s legacy.

"Madiba (his clan name) belongs to the world. Nothing can change who he was. There are political parties and sections of society that are entitled to claim him, but as long as it doesn't affect his legacy, I think everyone should be free to think about him and remember him in their way," she wrote.

Although the power struggle within Mandela's family remains unresolved, South Africa continues to celebrate the icon's legacy.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 17Jan2015

17 january 2015 06:00:42

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