Mandela family gathers round ailing icon
12 June 2013, 08:54
Johannesburg - As ex-president Nelson Mandela
battles in hospital against a potentially life-threatening lung
infection, his kin - no strangers to family feuds - have come together
to be at his bedside.
With hospital visits restricted to close
family to minimise the risk of infection, Mandela's daughters Makaziwe
and Zindzi have since the weekend been spending several hours at the
Pretoria hospital where he is receiving treatment.
His former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela,
whom Mandela divorced in 1996, five years after his release from
prison, has also been visiting the anti-apartheid icon. At least two
grandchildren have been spotted entering the hospital.
current wife, Graça Machel, was last week forced to cancel an appearance
at an international conference in London to be with her husband.
Mandela's children have been largely absent from public life.
But in recent months they have lurched into the limelight for the wrong reasons.
squabble over the Nobel peace laureate's wealth recently spewed into
the public, incensing South Africans who hold the family in high esteem.
of Mandela's daughters have gone to court to oust some of their
father's trusted friends from the board of two companies that are
managing his wealth.
They filed the papers two days after Mandela was discharged from hospital following his last illness in April.
daughters, saying they are acting on behalf of Mandela's grandchildren,
want to remove the 94-year-old's longtime friend and lawyer George Bizos and two others from the boards of trustees of the two companies.
Bizos defended Mandela during the infamous Rivonia trial, in which he was condemned to life in prison 49 years ago.
R17.m companies were established nine years ago to channel the proceeds
of Mandela's exclusive artworks for the benefit of his wife, children
Mandela's oldest grandson, Mandla, said he was "shocked" that his grandfather's money matters were being discussed in public.
The dispute over Mandela's funds may be signs of growing assertiveness coming with their father's waning influence.
of all we need to remember that the Mandela family is a family like any
family that has issues," said Johannesburg-based political analyst
"When you bring someone as iconic as Nelson Mandela into the picture, without a shade of doubt, you definitely have something very very complex."
of the former statesman's grandchildren, rallying behind their mothers,
have rejected public accusations of money-grabbing amid Mandela's
current condition "creates a sense of urgency for many people with
interest around him. There are many people with vested interests in the
Mandela name, the Mandela brand", said Nordien.
Mandela's eldest daughter, was furious in April after the broadcast of
images of the frail leader following a visit by top officials from the
ruling African National Congress.
She accused party leaders of
exploiting the 94-year-old to gain political mileage, saying "they
should have had the sense to not publish those pictures".
Mandela has six children and 17 grandchildren.
the South African authorities reported on Tuesday that Mandela's
condition remains serious, none of his family members have shown signs
of sadness when they emerge from the hospital.
On Monday, Winnie was even seen laughing with some unidentified people outside.
Join in the conversation on our Facebook page. Also get the latest news by following us on Twitter.