Clan king snubs Madiba service attended by leaders, govt

FILE PICTURE: Abathembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelinbanzi Dalindyebo. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Controversial AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo yesterday snubbed a memorial service organised by traditional leaders for the late former President Nelson Mandela.

The memorial service, which took place in the Mveso village where Mandela was born, was attended by chiefs and kings from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, co-operative goverance and traditional affairs minister Lechesa Tsenoli, ANC general-secretary Gwede Mantashe, ANC’s national executive committee member Tony Yengeni and Eastern Cape legislature speaker Fikile Xasa.

The Saturday Citizen understands that Dalindyebo, who was scheduled to speak at the memorial service, is seething because President Jacob Zuma is going to welcome people at Mandela’s funeral tomorrow instead of him – and also because Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela will host traditional leaders after the funeral in Mveso when he is not a king or an heir to the family’s clan.

Tsenoli described Dalindyebo’s absence as unfortunate, saying: “We would have loved him to come. Maybe he had other reasons.”

AbaThembu Royal Council spokesperson Chief Daludumo Mtirara said Dalindyebo was informed of the memorial service.

“We do not have control over his diary,” he said.

“I am not aware of concerns and uneasiness coming from Dalindyebo. He was supposed to speak at the memorial service. We did not receive an apology from him.”

Chairman of the AbaThembu Royal Council – which is lobbying for the removal of Dalindyebo – Chief Thanduxolo Mtirara expressed disappointment at the behaviour of the king. “We had set a date and he was informed.”

“As a traditional leader he is obliged to attend because the event was in honour of Mandela. He is part of the AbaThembu clan.”

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said Dalindyebo’s absence from the memorial service was not unusual. “Dalindyebo boycotted the funeral of his mother and his wife.”

“We always knew that something like this might happen.”

Fikeni said not long ago there were tensions between him and some members of the AbaThembu clan, adding their calls for him to be dethroned. “Dalindyebo might have felt the event was organised by his detractors and also, given his temperament, he decided not to come.”

The Mandelas, Mtiraras and Dalindyebos are the royals of the AbaThemmbu and close relatives. They are of the Madiba or Dlomo clan.

Repeated attempts to contact Dalindyebo’s spokesperson Mfundo Mtirara were unsuccessful.

A dissatisfied local, Setwatwa Dlamini, said he did not know why the king did not attend the memorial service.

“I do not know why our king did not come,” he said. “Today all leaders, including government officials, were here.”

Dlamini expressed disappointment that he will view Mandela’s funeral on the big screen in the village because he was told that he could not come to the funeral because he did not have accreditation.

Mantashe said it was Mandela’s wish to be buried in Qunu.

“Mandela had written in his will that he wants to buried in Qunu and not in Pretoria where other former presidents are buried. “Mandela wanted to buried next to his family,” he said.

Mantashe called for good behaviour ahead of the Madiba funeral.

“We should be on our best behaviour as we honour Madiba and not do things that will be a disservice to him,” he said.

“We are not here to mourn; we are here to celebrate the life of a great man.”

Mandela will be buried in the family graveyard in Qunu where his children were buried.

today in print

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