THE MAIN members of the Mandela family gathered in Qunu at the weekend to mark the end of the second phase of mourning in honour of the late world icon Nelson Mandela.
They included Mandela’s wife Graça Machel and ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Following the death of Madiba last December, family and close friends of the statesman were given black buttons to wear as a sign of respect.
Phase one of the mourning rituals was ukuhlanjwa kwepeki, the washing of all the equipment used for the digging of the grave.
Royal house spokesman Daludumo Mtirara said on Saturday the black buttons family members had been wearing for the months of mourning were removed.
Mtirara said the third phase would continue to June when the spouse would conclude the entire mourning period, which the Dlomo’s had decided to reduce from a year to six months for the widow.
Mtirara said the final stage would be the slaughtering of inkomo yokukhupha (a cow to send him off).
Also present at the ceremony were Madiba’s grandson and Mvezo chief, Mandla Mandela, his younger brother Ndaba as well as Ndileka, born of Madiba’s first born son Thembekile.
Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday Mtirara said Madiba’s daughters – Zenani and Zindzi – could not make it because of other commitments
three and had sent their apologies.
“The main family members were there though, his widow Mam’Nosizwe as well as his senior grandson Nkos’Zwelivelile. It would have been improper to have the ceremony if they (Graça and Mandla) were not there,” he said.
Mtirara said both elders of the Mandela family as well as elders of the royal family were also there.
“We are pleased that everything went well. Things were done properly, the Dlomo way. The ceremony was peaceful.
Mtirara said it was also important to note this was not the end of the mourning period. It “was just the taking off of the buttons,” he said. —