Mandla a ‘power hungry and self-obsessed’ man – with audio recording

Appointing him Mvezo chief was a mistake says his younger brother Ndaba

NDABA Mandela has described his older half-brother Mandla Mandela as a power-hungry, self-obsessed man, concerned only about himself.

LONG SHADOW: Half-brothers Mandla and Ndaba Mandela, grandsons of Nelson Mandela, in the Randburg cemetery where their grandmother Evelyn Nomathamsaqa Mase was buried in 2007

Talking exclusively to the Daily Dispatch yesterday, Ndaba said although the Mandela family originally supported Mandla’s bid for the Mvezo chieftaincy, the family now realised that was a mistake. 

Scroll down to listen to a recording of Ndaba’s comments

This came as Mandla yesterday instructed his lawyer to oppose an order that had given him until Monday to respond to demands from Mandela family members to exhume the bones of Nelson Mandela’s late sons, Makgatho and Tembekile, and daughter Makaziwe from his Mvezo Great Place to the former statesman’s Qunu homestead.

Mandla was installed as the chief of Mvezo in 2007 after Nelson Mandela declined the position saying he had retired from public life.

Ndaba, born in 1983, is the eldest of three sons born to Makgatho and his wife Zondi. The other brothers are Mbuso and Andile.

“They tried to get my grandfather to be the chief but he did not want to,” said Ndaba. “Then they asked my father and he also declined.

“Mandla then expressed interest and as the family we supported him. But unfortunately we realised that he wanted it for all the wrong reasons.”

Ndaba said it was “unfortunate” that Mandla had developed Mvezo for all the wrong reasons.

“He has done a good job with developments but he has ulterior motives. It is unfortunate. Mandla is a power-hungry, self-obsessed man who is only concerned about himself,” said Ndaba.

“At the moment I will not be claiming back the chieftaincy. We are taking this a step at a time. At the moment we are focusing on the remains of my father, aunt and uncle,” he added, referring to the exhumation case before the Mthatha High Court.

Contacted yesterday, Mandla declined to comment.

A source close to the Mandela family said Mandla’s legitimacy as chief was being questioned as he continued to defy senior members of the family.

“Now it is coming out that he is umntana wenkazana (a child born out of wedlock) and those are things which would not be said if he quietly did what he was meant to do,” said the source.

Because Mandla was born out of wedlock, culturally he has no claim to the chieftaincy.

Mandla is the eldest son of former President Nelson Mandela’s son, Makgatho.

Makgatho was not married to Mandla’s mother Nolusapho when she fell pregnant.

Dr Nokuzola Mndende, director of the Icamagu Institute, which researches African culture and religion, said a child born out of wedlock cannot be chief, especially if the man meant to be chief has a son.

“Traditionally, if the parents are not married the child uses the surname and clan name of the mother.

“Even if the child is familiar with the father and his family, the child is still of the mother’s family,” she said.

Speaking about the Mandla issue, Mndende said: “It is wrong that Mandla’s mother is holding the fort for Mandla as chief because she was never married to Makgatho.

“The ceremony of her having utsiki was done after Makgatho had died. That is not customary law.”

Mandla’s claim to the chieftaincy was also questioned by his estranged wife, Tando MabunuMandela, in court papers.

The pair have been going through a bitter divorce since 2009.

They were married in community of property and as part of the divorce, she is demanding half his assets.

After Mabunu-Mandela asked the court to declare his third marriage null and void, Mandla filed an answering affidavit opposing her application saying he needed to take another wife for traditional reasons.

“I was obliged to take one or more wives in terms of our custom or tradition, most particularly in order to produce an heir for the community,” he wrote in the papers.

Mabunu-Mandela then alleged her husband was not even the rightful chief of Mvezo.

“Indeed, it is important for this honourable court to consider that the first respondent is not a proper chief in every sense of the word.

“The first respondent can never aver [assert] that his chieftainship is an hereditary title.

“The tribe has never regarded the first respondent as a true chief,” she said in her answering papers.

AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has also publicly stated that he would never acknowledge Mandla as a chief because he was not the rightful chief of Mvezo.




  1. Mandla is full of himself, Remember Mandla to take a second wife your first wife must agree, how can you marry a French woman, where are the proper Xhosa woman. I agree with Ndaba appointing you as a chief was a big mistake

  2. I also wondered how it came about that the Ngubengcuka descendants would allow a child conceived out of wedlock to be the chief. This was bound to happen .
    Poor Tata. he’s so ill and all the dirty laundry of the family is hanging for all to see

    He can still be declared invalid and if no male wants to be chief at Mvezo then a son from the extended family can be selected as chief