Mandela is chief

LOVEBIRDS: Mandla Mandela and Tando Mabunu. Pic. Motlapele Tau. 22/2/06. © Sowetan.
LOVEBIRDS: Mandla Mandela and Tando Mabunu. Pic. Motlapele Tau. 22/2/06. © Sowetan.

Pumza Fihlani

Pumza Fihlani

Madiba's grandson Mandla Mandela, pictured, will next week take over as the head of the Mvezo Traditional Council in the Kingdom of aba-Thembu in the Eastern Cape.

Dignitaries from across the country are expected to attend the event to be held at the Mvezo Great Place near Mthatha on Monday.

The ceremony will be handled by Inkosi yabaThembu, King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalinyebo.

When the country's former president Nelson Mandela, son of the late Chief Henry Mandela, renounced his claim to the chieftaincy to become a lawyer, the tribal lineage he would have led was suddenly stopped.

Now, after nearly seven decades, the Madiba clan will again take on the responsibility of traditional leadership when Mandla becomes the head of the council of abaThembu.

Mandela, currently studying at Rhodes University, said he was honoured to accept the role and would represent the family with pride.

"I am relishing the prospect of being a custodian of the abaThembu custom and I look forward to this position with respect, pride and passion," he said.

He said he believed that traditional leadership was the basis for political legitimacy and that the promotion of traditional and tribal leadership would lead to an "Afrocentric cultural renaissance".

"Monarchy and tribal leadership have a substantial role to play in the continued democratisation of the country and I am thankful that this role will allow me an opportunity to follow in Dalibhunga's footsteps.

"I am also particularly proud that Dalibhunga will be able to share in this historic moment as this reinstatement is a tribute to his contribution to the abaThembu people," said Mandela.

Dalibhunga is a name given to Madiba by abaThembu people.

Once Mandela takes over the chieftaincy, the remains of the Mandela home in Mvezo will form part of the Nelson Mandela Museum.