A lion skin for the chief as grandson of Mandela reclaims title taken by colonials





JOHANNESBURG -- Nelson Mandela beamed yesterday as he watched Mandla, his grandson, invested with the royal chieftainship due him by blood and custom but stripped from the Mandela family nine decades ago by South Africa’s British colonial rulers.

The colourful ceremony was mainly in honour of the increasingly frail Mr Mandela, 88, who was walking with the aid of a stick and supported by his wife Graça and aides. But he waived his right to the restored kingship of his home village of Mvezo, in favour of his 33-year-old grandson...

Mandla Mandela is the son of Makgatho Mandela, Nelson’s son who suffered from Aids and died two years ago. Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo in July 1918 to a former chief of the Thembu royal tribe and given the Xhosa name Rolihlahla, meaning “trouble-maker”.

Soon after Rolihlahla was born, his father, Gadla, was deposed as chief by the British after he refused a summons to appear before a local magistrate with the words “Andizi, ndisaqula,” (“I will not come, I am still girding for battle”). Rolihlahla should have succeeded to the Thembu chieftainship, but he renounced the leadership to become a lawyer and fight apartheid.


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list