Johannesburg - Aunt and nephew are pitted against each other in the high-stakes battle for leadership of the fractured Mandela family, City Pressreports.
On one side is the former president’s 38-year-old grandson Mandla Mandela, the chief of Mvezo, and on the other his formidable 59-year-old aunt Makaziwe.
That there appears to be no love lost between them was glaringly illustrated this week by the family’s appointment of Mandla’s nemesis, Wesley Hayes, as their lawyer.
Hayes - Mandla's first wife’s attorney who has heaped shame and embarrassment on the young chief in reams of papers supporting numerous court applications throughout his bitter five-year divorce battle - represented the family in their bid to have the remains of three of former president Nelson Mandela's children returned to Qunu.
On Friday, City Press broke the news of how the family went to battle in the Mthatha High Courtto have the remains of the deceased children Thembekile, Makaziwe and Mandla’s father Makgatho exhumed from their graves in Mvezo and reinterred in Qunu.
Mandla had their remains moved to Mvezo in 2011 and the family demanded their return, believing that Mandela was being made to suffer by the ancestors because of the actions of his grandson.
On Tuesday night, senior Mandela family elders visited the Qunu family graveyard to plead for forgiveness from their ancestors, after an "emotional and tense" family meeting.
On one side was Makaziwe, accompanied by her close friend, Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
On the other was an isolated Mandla - with the entire family taking him to task for moving the graves. After the meeting, Mandla did not go to the family graveyard with the others but drove off instead in the direction of Mvezo.
Makaziwe, or Maki as she is affectionately known, was described by a family friend this week as a “petulant peacock”.
She wields a lot of influence in the family and vetoes many decisions.
Close family friends, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say that as the first daughter of Mandela’s first marriage, AbaThembu culture dictates that she preside over family meetings and be the one to make announcements.
"Since she is the eldest child of Mandela, she is known as 'umafungwashe' [the one by whom we swear]. Umafungwashe has to be consulted, even if she is married. There is no major decision they can take without her," the insider said.
"Mandla is the heir apparent, and he does take some decisions sometimes, but it has to be the eldest daughter who takes the decision."
As Mandela's eldest male descendent and the chief of Mvezo, Mandla is supposed to be the head of the family.
But word in the villages about 40km from Mthatha is that Mandla's childlessness is a further sign of the ancestors' displeasure with him.
His marriage to Tando Mabunu-Mandela disintegrated amid allegations of abuse.
She also succeeded in having half of the more than R5m in his bank account frozen, including her share of the gift of R3m his grandfather gave him.
A source close to the family, opposed to Mandla's actions, said: "You cannot disturb people who are resting peacefully in their graves and expect no repercussions from the ancestors.
"Once ancestors turn their backs on you, you will have bad luck, struggle to find children, jobs or things like that," insisted the source.
"What is happening to Mandla shows that the ancestors are unhappy with the way he has carried himself."
Johannesburg - Makaziwe Mandela and her niece Ndileka held a sensitive meeting at the end of last month with officials from the SABC and the presidency over broadcasting rights for former president Nelson Mandela's eventual funeral.
The Sunday Independent reported that the meeting was convened to discuss the coverage of Mandela’s funeral, of which the SABC is the official broadcaster. However the Mandelas demanded that CNN be given “preferential” access and status throughout.
One of the officials that attended the meeting slammed the conversation as “inappropriate” coming from family members about a “funeral deal concerning one of their own”.
“We are aggrieved and understandably so,” said the official. “But there appears to be little we can do as the family appears to have their own plans.”
Another official said “this wasn’t a request. It was a demand. The CNN deal seems to be done and dusted”.
On Monday, CNN released a statement saying "there is absolutely no truth to the allegation that CNN has bought the rights to the Mandela funeral".
Newspapers reported on Wednesday that he allegedly stormed out of a family meeting in Qunu on Tuesday.
According to the reports, he allegedly moved the graves of three of Mandela's children from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011, apparently without consulting the family.
It was reported that the family wanted the graves of Mandela's sons Makgatho and Thembekile, and daughter Makaziwe, to be returned to Qunu.
"Chief Zwelivelile [Mandla Mandela] has no issues with any authorised person in the family repatriating any or all of the graves," Mandla Mandela's spokesperson Freddy Pilusa was quoted as telling The Star on Thursday.
"Mvezo is the birthplace and traditional home of the Mandelas, and thereby lies its historic and heritage significance."
He said Mandla Mandela would not comment now on plans for his grandfather's burial.
The 94-year-old former president was admitted to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital on 8 June for treatment of a recurring lung infection.
The presidency said in a statement on Tuesday that he remained in a critical condition.
Johannesburg - Nelson Mandela's eldest daughter on Thursday slammed the "crass" media frenzy around her critically ill father, likening the press to vultures.
Mandela accused the foreign media of "a racist element" by crossing cultural boundaries and being a "nuisance" at her father's Pretoria hospital where he is on life support.
"It's like truly vultures waiting when a lion has devoured a buffalo, waiting there you know for the last carcasses, that's the image that we have as a family," Makaziwe Mandela told the state broadcaster SABC.
"And we don't mind the interest but I just think that it has gone overboard."
As well as staking out the hospital, journalists had also camped out during the family's visit this week to Mandela's childhood village, in the rural Eastern Cape.
"They violate all boundaries," she said.
"Is it because we're an African country that people just feel they can't respect any laws of this country, they can violate everything in the book? I just think it's in bad taste, it's crass," she added.
Updates on Mandela's health are strictly controlled via the presidency but this has not stopped hordes of foreign and local media flocking to his hospital, village of Qunu and his Johannesburg home.
Mandela said her father's status as a global icon did not mean that his privacy and dignity should not be respected.
"Tata (father) deserves his privacy and dignity and this family deserves that," she said.
"And if people say they really care about Nelson Mandela, then they should respect that, then they should respect that there's a part of him that has to be respected.
"It doesn't mean that everything of his has to be out there in the public. I don't think so, I don't agree with that."