Return Mandela kids’ bodies, orders court
A South African court ruled on Wednesday that Nelson Mandela’s grandson must return the bodies of the former president’s three deceased children to their original burial site.
The court ruled against grandson Mandla Mandela, who moved the bodies of three Mandela children in 2011 from Mandela’s hometown in Qunu to his birthplace of Mvezo, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away.
The family members claimed Mandla Mandelamoved the graves without the knowledge or consent of his relatives.
The judge said the bodies should be reburied Wednesday afternoon.
The case pitted 16 Mandela family members against Mandla Mandela, a tribal chief who argues that as the family’s eldest male he is entitled to take such action. Upping the ante in the family feud, a Mandela family member pressed criminal charges Tuesday against Mandla for tampering with a grave.
Mandela had six children — four daughters and two sons — with two wives. Only his three eldest daughters remain alive. Mandla Mandela was the first-born grandson.
Wandile Kuse, a retired professor and expert in family structures in South Africa, said Mandla Mandela was trying to assert himself in a patriarchal society where ‘women kind of play second fiddle.’
Mandla Mandela ‘seems to regard himself as the sole male surviving heir, and he’s playing on that card,’ said Kuse, who noted the grandson’s interest in new developments in Mandela’s birth town. ‘Maybe he’s overstepping.’
The graves are that of Makgatho Mandela, who died in 2005 and is Mandla Mandela’s father; Mandela’s first daughter Makaziwe Mandela, who died as an infant in 1948; and Mandela’s second son Madiba Thembekile Mandela, who died in a car accident in 1969.