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Family drama

mandela’s grandson accuses relatives of controlling legacy

PRETORIA — Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla has accused his relatives of seeking to control the former South African president’s legacy.

Yesterday police exhumed the bodies of three of Mandela’s children from Mandla’s homestead, after court action by his relatives.

He accused the rival family-members of being vengeful and washing the family’s “dirty linen” in public.

Mandela, 94, remains “critical but stable” in hospital, a new update says.

President Jacob Zuma issued a statement after visiting the hero of the fight against white minority rule in a Pretoria hospital.

“Madiba [Mandela’s clan name] is receiving the best medical care from a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals who are at his bedside around the clock,” he said, again urging South Africans to celebrate his birthday later this month.

Correspondents say there has been a long-running battle over Mandela’s legacy, but it has intensified as he nears the end of his life.

The dispute between Mandla and his relatives is linked to where Mandela will be buried.

Court papers filed last week revealed that he has been on life support. He was admitted on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.

His wife Graca Machel today said Mandela was sometimes “uncomfortable, but he has never been in pain”.

A group of the Mandela family, including his daughter Makaziwe and Mrs Machel, last week went to court, accusing Mandla of unlawfully relocating the graves of the three children to his village of Mvezo.

Mandla had relocated the graves to ensure that his grandfather would be buried in Mvezo, Makaziwe said in an affidavit, South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper reports.

This was in defiance of the wishes of Mandela, who wanted to be buried in the nearby village of Qunu, where he grew up, she is quoted as saying.

The court ruled that the bodies should be re-interned in the family graveyard in Qunu.

The exhumed remains are being reburied in Qunu after forensic tests confirmed their identities.

In his first comments since losing the case, Mandla said he had brought the remains to Mvezo “temporarily”, until Mandela’s wishes were known.

“In the past few days I have been the target of attacks from all sorts of individuals wanting a few minutes of fame and media attention at my expense,” he said, AFP reports.

Makaziwe was trying to “sow divisions and destruction” in the family, he said. (BBC)

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