Mandela Family Remains Are Exhumed Amid Feud

Mandela Family Remains Are Exhumed Amid Feud

The remains of three of Nelson Mandela's children have been exhumed by court order amid a bitter family feud over the former president's final resting place.

Mr Mandela's eldest grandson earlier lost his appeal against having the bodies of his father and two other children returned to the ailing anti-apartheid hero's childhood village of Qunu.

A sheriff used a pickaxe to force open the gates to Mandla Mandela's property about 20 miles away - where the disputed remains were moved in 2011 - before three hearses entered the estate.

The chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council had exhumed the bodies without seeking permission from other relatives.

He put the remains in three graves near a visitor centre and complex he is building in the Eastern Cape where Nelson Mandela was born.

The relatives argue he moved the bodies to establish a family cemetery at the development - which could eventually include the grave of Nelson Mandela - in order to attract paying tourists.

The grandson's legal team launched an immediate appeal, saying the chief did not have enough time to explain his side of the story to the court and called for a mediator to be appointed, to avoid unwanted publicity.

Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela, her nephew Ndaba Mandela, and niece Ndileka Mandela were in court to observe proceedings.

The graves are those of Mandela's eldest son, Mandla Mandela's father, Makgatho Mandela, who died in 2005; Mandela's first daughter Makaziwe Mandela, who died as an infant in 1948; and Mandela's second son Madiba Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969.

The family dispute comes as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader remains critically ill in a Pretoria hospital.  

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