The court papers landed in my inbox on Saturday, and they were explosive. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had taken to the Mthatha High Court to stop Mandla Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s grandson and chief of the Mvezo village that neighbours Qunu) from hosting a meeting of the AbaThembu royal family, which was planned for this Friday.
Why was Madikizela-Mandela so determined to stop the meeting? Well, a number of reasons, actually.
Firstly, the meeting was set to take place at Mandela’s Qunu homestead — the same property the former president is buried on. Madikizela-Mandela is currently embroiled in a court battle over the ownership of the house, so she says that the meeting can’t be held there.
Madikizela-Mandela’s second argument revolves around the two apparent topics of the meeting: (1) her claim to the house and, (2) the rightful leader of the Mandela family. Madikizela-Mandela says, first, that the house is currently being dealt with by the court, so it actually can’t be discussed by the royal family — and even if it is, the royal family’s decision doesn’t matter because the court has to deal with it. Secondly, she states that because Mandela wasn’t a chief when he died, the royal family has no right to determine the leadership of a family matter.
But it’s her final assertion that is most interesting: if the meeting goes ahead, there will be bloodshed (because of tensions around the issues) and the name of Mandela will be dragged through the mud. It really was fascinating to read her 12-page affidavit.
The story run in the Sunday Times this weekend, and was published on TimesLIVE. You can check it out by clicking here: There will be blood at Qunu, says Winnie. The court case will be heard this week in the Mthatha High Court. Mandla Mandela’s lawyers are opposing her application.