Tuesday 12 December 2017

Fiona Forde: Mandelas at war as nation prepares to say its goodbye to beloved Madiba

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela embraces a wellwisher. The children from Mr Mandela’s first marriage were sidelined for years by Ms Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela embraces a wellwisher. The children from Mr Mandela’s first marriage were sidelined for years by Ms Madikizela-Mandela

Fiona Forde

THERE are 34 family members preparing for the passing of Nelson Mandela, the man who was to two of them a husband, to three of them a father, to 17 of them a grandfather and to the other 12 a great-grandfather. They are the Mandelas, the product of his three marriages who will now carry his name into the future.

As this week's row over where the father of the new South Africa should be laid to rest shows, the Mandelas are a divided lot, torn apart over their respective places within the pecking order and their perceived right to call rank over one another as they battle to lay claim to the Mandela legacy.

The children and grandchildren from his first marriage, to Evelyn Ntoko Mase, were for years sidelined by his second wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who stole the limelight during Madiba's 27 years behind bars, only to abandon him soon after he walked free in 1990. He eventually divorced her in 1996.

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