There was an unexpected turn of events at the Fourways Memorial Park cemetery as the burial ceremony of Zoleka Mandela, the late author and activist, was marred by a family dispute.
Zoleka had made her wishes clear regarding her final resting place, and her family was well aware of her desires. However, her aunt, Zenani Mandela, daughter of the late Nelson Mandela, arrived with a court interdict and a police van, demanding that Zoleka be buried elsewhere.
According to Zimoja, a hole had already been dug at the Mandela Estate, next to the graves of Zoleka’s two late children, her mother, and her grandmother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The family was ready to lay Zoleka to rest in the peaceful surroundings of the estate. However, Zenani’s intervention disrupted the proceedings, resulting in a heated argument and legal complications.
It is reported that Zoleka had prepared a list of guests who were invited and those who were excluded from her funeral. Among the excluded were her ex-husband, Thierry Bashala, and Leeroy Andie Cana, the father of her youngest child. She also specifically mentioned several members from both the Mandela and Madikizela families, including her aunt Zenani and Mandla Mandela.
The tension between Zoleka and Zenani seems to have played a significant role in the unfortunate events that unfolded. Although the exact details of their strained relationship remain undisclosed, it is evident that there was animosity between them. Zoleka’s wish to be buried next to her children, rather than in a separate location, further fueled the conflict.
Zoleka Mandela fought a courageous battle against cancer for eleven years. Sadly, she passed away on September 25th, succumbing to metastatic cancer that had spread to various parts of her body. In her diary, she expressed her desire to exclude certain individuals from her funeral and the vicinity of her body.
The dramatic scene at Zoleka’s burial not only divided the Mandela family but also left a sense of unrest among those present. Some family members chose to leave before the ceremony could conclude, while others stayed but with a heavy heart. This unforeseen turn of events has now opened the doors to potential legal battles within the family.
While it is a personal tragedy for the Mandela family, the public is left to contemplate the complexities of family dynamics and how they can unravel even during the most sombre moments. The rift between Zoleka and Zenani, whatever its origins, has now left an indelible mark on the family’s history.