by Akintomiwa Agbaje
The widow of the Legend has fired a bombshell just days after the deceased South African president, Nelson Mandela, was laid to rest in Qunu.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has stepped into a family feud which propagated that that the oldest child will head the clan – not his oldest living male relative.
The human rights icon’s ex-wife said, Makaziwe Mandela, 60, the only living child from Mandela’s first marriage to Evelyn Mase, will take charge.
The Daily Mail reports:
It has previously been reported that Nelson Mandela’s oldest male heir, grandson Mandla Mandela, would take over as head of the family.Ms Madikizela-Mandela denied that the family is engaged in a ‘succession or dynasty’ battle, refuting claims in media of a feud.
‘In accordance with customary law and tradition the eldest daughter, being Ms. Makaziwe Mandela, will head the family and will make decisions with the support of her two sisters.
‘To this end there is no misunderstanding, or debate. Mr. Mandla Mandela is respected as one of Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren, the next generation of the Mandela family,’ she said.
The Johannesburg tabloid The Times reported earlier this week that Mandela’s grandson Mandla had found himself locked out of the Mandela homestead in the Eastern Cape hamlet of Qunu where Mandela was buried on Sunday.
According to the report, Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, had ordered the locks changed after she arrived while Mandla was keeping vigil next to his grandfather’s coffin as the body lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria for three days.
Right to inherit: Makaziwe is Nelson Mandela’s oldest living child, whereas Mandla is the oldest grandchildReady for battle: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, left, and Mandla Mandela, right were separated by South African President Jacob Zuma at Mandela’s funeral ceremony in Qunu on Sunday
Family feud: South African media has described a power battle within the family following the death of Nelson Mandela
Mandla also reportedly found his home on the Mandela estate without electricity and water on the day of his grandfather’s burial.
Mandla Mandela declined to comment on the matter.
‘He (Mandla) doesn’t want to confirm nor deny the report. He wants to focus on promoting and upholding the legacy of his grandfather going forward,’his spokesman Freddy Pilusa said.
Madikizela-Mandela, in a statement issued on her behalf by her spokesman, Thato Mmereki, lashed out at what she called ‘mischievous innuendos and newsroom slugs designed to disgrace the family’ through ‘apartheid-style’ tactics.
She said she is disappointed with the media’s ‘interference in closed matters of the Mandela family.’
‘These reports have done nothing but use half-truths to cast a shadow on the Mandela family during their time of bereavement,’ she asserted.
Madikizela-Mandela noted that three daughters survive Nelson Mandela: Makaziwe Mandela, Zenani Dlamini-Mandela and Zindziswa Mandela.