Nelson Mandela’s centenary birthday looms but no word on opening grave site to public

Preparations on the way for Mdiba's birthday celebrations next week.
Preparations on the way for Mdiba's birthday celebrations next week.
Image: File

With the world set to celebrate former president Nelson Mandela’s centenary birthday next week‚ there has been no progress regarding a decision on whether to open his grave site to the public.

Many‚ including some government leaders‚ believe this would boost tourism in the OR Tambo region as many would descend on Mthatha to view Madiba’s grave in Qunu.

Mandela’s eldest grandson‚ Nkosi Mandla Zwelivelile Mandela‚ the head of the Mandela chiefdom in Mvezo‚ said it could not be the decision of only the family.

“Madiba belongs to the global community‚ so in contextualising this‚ the family‚ the ANC – his political home – and the South African government need to come together in finding a solution around this matter.”

Mandla would not say whether the family was in favour of the grave site being open to the public or not.

He said the discussion would have been held‚ had President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Qunu as announced during the ANC’s January 8 statement.

“But with regret‚ that was never realised‚” said Mandla.

“Madiba continues to be the only ANC president that the ANC top six has not been to‚ to lay wreaths at his place of rest.

“Nevertheless‚ we remain hopeful that this will be done during his centenary.”

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