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As Mandela clings to life, family fight over his final resting place

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U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia (L) arrive at Waterkloof Air Base in South Africa June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS)

U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia (L) arrive at Waterkloof Air Base in South Africa June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS)

U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia (L) arrive at Waterkloof Air Base in South Africa June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS)

As Nelson Mandela remained in critical condition in hospital today, a family feud over where the 94-year-old former president should be buried went to the courts, according to South Africa's national broadcaster.

Mr Mandela's oldest daughter, Makaziwe, and 15 other family members, have pressed a court application to get Mr Mandela's grandson to return the bodies of three of Mr Mandela's children to their original graves in the eastern rural village of Qunu, according to the SABC.

The grandson, Mandla Mandela, acknowledges having reburied the three bodies 13 miles away in the Mvezo village, where he plans to create a Mandela shrine, hotel and soccer stadium, according to the South African Press Association.

The anti-apartheid leader built his retirement home in Qunu and was living there until his repeated hospital stays, which started at the end of last year. Nelson Mandela attended the burial of his son at the family plot in Qunu in 2005, and it was widely expected that the leader himself would be buried there.

But his grandson exhumed the bodies of Mr Mandela's three children and moved them to nearby Mvezo, which is the former president's birthplace, and the grandson holds authority as chief.

Eldest daughter Makaziwe and other Mandela family members want the family bodies returned to their original graves in Qunu, according to the reports.

The court struggle came as Mr Mandela's ex-wife said that he had improved in recent days, but remained critical. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (inset) gave the update while speaking to journalists outside Mr Mandela's former home in Soweto.

hnews@herald.ie


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