Mandla Mandela sidelined as Makaziwe ‘calls the shots’
The power struggle within the Mandela family has resulted in late former president Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandchild and heir, Mandla Mandela, being relegated to the sidelines.
At the centre of the power struggle is Madiba’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, and grandson Mandla who are wrestling over who has control of the family.
Several independent sources told City Press that as soon as Makaziwe arrived at the family home in Qunu on Thursday ahead of the funeral, she changed the locks of the house used by Mandla in the village.
“They put someone in his bedroom. When he [Mandla] arrived on Saturday he did not have access to his house. He was fuming,” said one source.
“Makaziwe was the one who ordered for the locks to be changed. She is calling the shots. She did not want relatives aligned to Mandla to be accredited. Some family members close to Mandla could not even enter at the gates in Qunu because they did not have name tags. They were turned away from their own home.”
City Press also understands Makaziwe wrote a letter to Mandla ordering him to remove his dogs from the family homestead in Qunu.
AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo’s confidante, Jongisizwe Ndzambule, confirmed Mandla had been sidelined and forced to play a minimal role.
“When we accompanied the king to Houghton last week Mandla was nowhere to be seen. We were welcomed by Ndileka, Makaziwe, Lindiwe Sisulu and chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima. This was supposed to be done by Mandla,” Ndzambule said, adding that Mandla featured little in the preparations for the funeral itself.
The Times today reported that Mandla’s mother, Nolusapho, was in tears when she was excluded in transport arrangements of family members to the funeral. It also reported the water and electricity to Mandla’s Qunu home had been cut off late on Saturday.
“Mandla seems to be losing the battle between himself and Maki. She was in charge of everything in preparing for the funeral. Mandla was not even consulted, he was simply ignored,” said another source.
Makaziwe could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mandla, the chief of Mvezo, Madiba’s birthplace, was also snubbed when he asked for the coffin to go to Mvezo. Makaziwe said “that is out of the question”.
Madiba’s body arrived on Saturday morning at the Mthatha Airport and was transported straight to Qunu where it remained overnight.
Mandla could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered.
Freddy Pilusa, Mandla’s spokesperson, said he could neither confirm nor deny reports that Mandla was locked out of the house when locks were changed.
“Our attitude is that the chief [Mandla] wants to uphold and preserve the legacy of Madiba. He is not interested in the infighting,” Pilusa said.
Matthew Mpahlwa, Mandla’s lawyer and royal advisor, refused to comment on the matter today.
“We are focusing our attention building on the legacy of the former state president and nothing else,” he said.
Mandla gained much respect from South Africans when he stood by his grandfather’s coffin as it lay in state for three days last week at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Yesterday Mandla thanked South Africans and the world for their support during the difficult period following Madiba’s death.
“The last 10 days could have turned out to be the most difficult days in our lives had it not been for the support of all South Africans and people of the world. I, like most in the family, told myself that when the eventuality of Madiba’s passing arrives, I would not mourn but celebrate all that is good that he has left within me and for the world.
“I was however mistaken because the pain of losing him unexpectedly got to me like one pierced by a sharp spear,” he said in a statement.
Madiba, who died on December 5, was buried in Qunu on Sunday in a state funeral.