Tag Archives: mandela bodies exhumed

South Africa – Mandela family row goes; Mandla says health threat non-existent

Mail and Guardian

The dispute between Makaziwe and Mandla is still not over as the Mandelas prepare for the family graves to be returned to Qunu.

A hearse arrived in Mvezo to transport the remains of Mandela family members. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)                    
A hearse arrived in Mvezo to transport the remains of Mandela family members. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)


Mandla Mandela insisted in court papers on Wednesday that he would not interfere with Nelson Mandela’s burial site unless there was no specific instruction in the former statesman’s will regarding where he wanted to be buried.

This is contrary to Makaziwe Mandela and others’ claim that Nelson Mandela’s last will and testament states that he wants to be buried in Qunu.

But he claimed that the “urgency” set out in Makaziwe’s affidavit – that Nelson Mandela’s health was “perilous” – was “simply non-existent”. The affidavit claims Nelson Mandela is on life support.

Mandla Mandela told the court on Wednesday: “The burial place will be determined by his [Nelson Mandela’s] last will and testament.               If there are no express directions in that document the duty falls on me as the eldest surviving male descendent.”

But Mandla Mandela said he would only exercise that right with discretion with advice from other relevant persons including Machel, various royal houses, and the South African government.

“I admit that I do not have the right to determine where my father’s brother and sister are to be buried. But I am entitled to determine where my father [Magkato Mandela] is buried,” he said.

Grave matters Meanwhile, the remains of three of Nelson Mandela’s children will most likely be buried in the former statesman’s home town of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Thursday. On Wednesday night, the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha shot down Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela’s last attempt to stop the remains from being moved from his own home in Mvezo to Qunu.

Court papers filed this week revealed how Mandla Mandela moved the graves from Qunu to Mvezo, after falling out with Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe, and other members of the former statesman’s family.

Makaziwe alleged that Mandla Mandela had felt isolated and cut off from the rest of the family around the time he allegedly moved the graves. She further alleged that Mandla was trying to “force” the burial of Nelson Mandela from Qunu, where he apparently wants to be buried, to Mvezo, for financial gain. He faces criminal charges of grave tampering.

Mandla Mandela called these allegations “vexatious”. He is expected to hold a press conference at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu on Thursday. He claimed he was not given a chance to air his side of the story in court when his rescission application was rejected by Judge Lusindiso Pakade.

Makaziwe Mandela succeeded this week in her application to the court to force Mandla to move the remains back. Makaziwe told the court that she brought the application in her name and the names of the other applicants, which include Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graça Machel, but also in Nelson Mandela’s own name.

“It has always been the desire of Nelson Mandela for his remains to be buried at his family’s homestead in Qunu. In fact, this much is readily apparent to the general public and it has been widely reported in national and international newspapers,” Makaziwe and others said.

Removal On Wednesday afternoon, just hours after an initial court order, which upheld one handed down on Friday, ordering Mandla Mandela to return the remains to Qunu, the sherriff of the court arrived at Mvezo to move the remains.

Court officials used bolt cutters to open the gates to the plot where the remains were buried. The Mail & Guardian understands the remains were taken to Mthatha overnight for forensic testing.  M&G

South Africa – remains of Mandela’s children exhumed

Daily Maverick

Police, workers exhume Mandela’s children


mandela children graves.jpg

Workers armed with pick-axes and a court order broke into the compound of Nelson Mandela’s grandson on Wednesday to exhume the remains of three of the anti-Apartheid hero’s children, a new twist in a row that has split South Africa’s most famous family. By YVONNE BELL.

Within hours of a ruling against Mandla Mandela by the high court in Mthatha, police and hearses arrived at Mandla’s complex in the nearby village of Mvezo, where the three Mandela offspring are buried.

The grey palisade gates blocking the road were forced open in front of a scrum of photographers and cameramen.

The three bodies were initially laid to rest in the family cemetery in Qunu, the village where Mandela – now 94 years old and critically ill in hospital – spent most of his childhood.

Two years ago the were moved by Mandla to Mvezo, where he serves as the official head of the clan.

In a court affidavit filed against Mandla last week, Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, argued for an urgent hearing, saying her father was in a “perilous” condition and breathing with the aid of life-support, local media said.

“The anticipation of his impending death is based on real and substantial grounds,” the City Press newspaper quoted the court papers as saying.

Mandla has not made clear why he moved the remains the 20 km to Mvezo, where Mandela was born, but many South Africans believe it is part of a campaign to ensure the country’s first black president is buried there.

Mandla has already built a visitor centre at Mvezo and a memorial to his grandfather. Last week, a faction of the family led by Makaziwe sought a court order compelling the bodies to be returned to Qunu.

Mandla, a 39-year-old Member of Parliament for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), was not present when a posse of police, workmen and undertakers entered the Mvezo complex to carry out the court order.

However, a statement released by his office said he would not stand in their way.

“Nkosi Zwelivelile has on numerous occasions indicated that he is not against the repatriation of the remains in question,” the statement said, calling Mandla by his official clan title. It also condemned “a lot of allegations and dirt thrown in his direction”.

Makaziwe was present at Mvezo but did not talk to reporters, who were pushed back by police. After the court decision, her only words to reporters were: “This is a private family matter.”

The three Mandela children buried in Mvezo are an infant girl who died in 1948, a boy, Thembi, who died in a car crash in 1969, and Makgatho, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 2005. In all, Mandela fathered six children from his three marriages. DM

Photo: A convoy of police and funeral vehicles approaches the home of Mandla Mandela, a grandson of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela, following a court hearing clearing the way to remove the remains of the former leader’s children from his property in Mvezo, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa July 3, 2013. A judge ordered Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla to exhume the bodies of three of the anti-apartheid leader’s children on Wednesday and return them to their original graves, the latest twist in a dispute that has divided South Africa’s most famous family. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola  DM