Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela was on Saturday removed from his post of traditional authority by a tribal king in South Africa.
King Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo of the Thembu tribe said Mandla Mandela was being expelled “from all rank of duties” over a family feud, which erupted after it was revealed that the grandson had moved the bodies of three of Nelson Mandela’s children to his village of Mvezo in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province in 2011.
The bodies were recently returned to their original burial site in Mandela’s hometown, Qunu, after family members of the former South African president went to court to force Mandla Mandela to relinquish control of the remains.
King Dalindyebo said Mandla Mandela, a chief in the Mvezo area, would not be allowed any involvement in tribal affairs until he apologises.
“He has not only angered us, he has also angered his own family,” the king said. “So as long as the family does not need him in their premises, we don’t need him in the Madiba clan at all.”
Nelson Mandela, who is often referred to by his clan name, Madiba, has been in a hospital for nearly a month. The family dispute, which degenerated into brothers calling each other names had shocked many South Africans, even prompting a plea from retired archbishop Desmond Tutu for Mandela’s family to settle its differences as a show of respect for the ailing patriarch.
Some reports have suggested Mandla Mandela had the bodies of Mandela’s children taken to his village because visitors would be attracted to the site, increasing his local authority and reaping possible financial benefits. Mandla Mandela said family members had previously not complained about the 2011 removal, and that some people were falsely claiming decision-making authority in the Mandela family.
There was no official update Saturday on the condition of the 94-year-old former president, who is in critical but stable condition after being diagnosed with a recurring lung infection. He was taken to a hospital in Pretoria, the capital, on June 8.