Madiba supporters turned away from Qunu home

Security is tight at Madiba's Qunu home with police preventing people from getting too close.

Nelson Mandela's retirement home in Qunu. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - An investigation has been launched after a group of Christians were turned away from former President Nelson Mandela's home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Security is extremely tight at the 94-year-old's Eastern Cape home with police preventing journalists from getting too close.

The two church groups went to Madiba's home on Sunday to offer their prayers and support.

They were standing near the well-secured home when they were turned away by two police officers at the gate.

It's understood the two members of the group were temporarily detained while they were trying to take pictures of themselves outside the house.

This led to a heated exchange between them and the police.

The incident is being investigated.

Meanwhile, an Eastern Cape tribal council member last week spoke of his memories of Madiba, saying the former president has a mischievous side and has told stories of what he used to get up to as a child.

Eyewitness News toured Qunu and surrounding areas where Madiba spent most of his childhood and spoke to some elderly neighbours of Madiba's late sister last week.

Madiba spent a few of his teenage years and went to school in Qokolweni outside Mthatha.

The ailing statesman often returned later in his life to the village as he built a house for his sister there.

Respected elder Clarence Tyopo said Madiba often teased his sister.

"This one time Tata Madiba stole a princess' calabash and drank all the sour milk, the princess cried. He consoled her and said whatever I get I will give you, when I get meat I will give you."

But Tyopo adds his sister ratted on him as soon as their father walked through the door.

"When the princess saw her father she started crying loudly and when he asked what's wrong she said he stole my calabash and he was given a hiding."

Tyopo said Madiba never forgot the place of his childhood.

The respected elder said elderly residents are especially more comfortable after improvements were made by Madiba himself.