Tutu: Don't tarnish Madiba's name

Archbishop Tutu says the Mandela family feud is like 'spitting in Madiba's face'.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN/MVEZO -Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has appealed to members of the Mandela family to dig deep within themselves to find the grace that their patriarch and the nation deserves at this sombre moment.

"Please, please, please may we think not only of ourselves. It's almost like spitting in Madiba's face," the Archbishop said.

"We can't imagine how difficult it must be for a family to endure being physically separated from its father for the 27 years that Mr Mandela spent in prison, only to have to share him with the world when freedom came.

"Your anguish, now, is the nation's anguish and the world's. We want to embrace you, to support you, to shine our love for Madiba through you. Please may we not tarnish his name."

Tutu's comments came after 16 members of the Mandela family took Mandela's grandson Mandla to court over the exhumation of three of Madiba's children.

Mandla exhumed the remains in 2011 and moved them from Qunu to Mvezo without the consent of his family.

On Wednesday, the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha ruled against him and the judge found his actions to be "scandalous" and "vicious".

The remains were exhumed on Wednesday evening and underwent forensic tests.

They were reburied in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Thursday.


Mandla, insists he followed customary laws when he exhumed the remains of three of Madiba's children.

He lashed out at relatives during a press briefing on Thursday who launched legal action against him.

He said he was being targeted for speaking out against controversial family matters.

Mandla accused his aunt Makaziwe of sowing destruction in the family.

He says she has no business in Mandela family matters and described himself as their soft target saying the family have turned against him.

Mandla also lashed out at his half-brother Ndaba.

"He knows my father impregnated a married woman of which he is a result."

He warned Ndaba saying he should be very careful when he wants to throw insults.

Mandla also said he had become a "soft target" within the family.

"In the past few days, I have been the subject of attacks from all sorts of individuals wanting a few minutes of fame and media attention at my expense."

Mandla then went on to reiterate his disappointment with Wednesday's court order.

He says the order is erroneous.

Mandla maintained his grandfather would be deeply disappointed by the events of the past few days.

He ended the briefing by adding that his grandfather was in critical but stable condition and that he simply wanted to "focus on what matters most" and that is spending time with his grandfather.


Constitutional law expert was quoted as saying customary and legislative law favours the greater Mandela family in their legal battle with Mandla.

University of South African Renaissance Professor Shadrack Gutto on Thursday spoke to Talk Radio 702's John Webb and said customary law demanded that Mandla follow due process before exhuming remains.

"People find it difficult to understand this matter because there's a mix of customary and legislative law."

Gutto said Mandla violated both customary and legislative law because he didn't consult the family by exhuming the remains thus he lost the court battle.

"The decision made by the court was fair as he didn't follow law processes."

The professor described the correct customary law processes that Mandla was supposed to follow.

"He didn't go through the process of consulting the chief in Qunu before exhuming those bodies in another chieftainship that was wrong in customary law. He's the chief of Mvezo and not of Qunu."

Asked whether Mandla's reputation had suffered Gutto said, "His reputation has been dented and he can remedy the situation by meeting the Qunu chief together with the AbaThembu and try to solve the problem."