Friend denies reports of family row over Nelson Mandela funeral arrangements


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The Independent Online

A friend of the Mandelas has denied reports of family row over funeral arrangements for the ailing 94-year-old who is in a critical condition at a Pretoria hospital. South African media reported a rift had emerged over where Nelson Mandela should be buried, with his grandson Mandla wanting him interred in the village of Mvezo, where the anti-apartheid leader was born, while others supported Qunu, where he grew up.

Family members met local elders and other notables on Tuesday in Qunu but did not discuss funeral arrangements, according to Bantu Holomisa, a politician who was present at the gathering.

“The purpose of the meeting was to brief the elders about Mandela's condition,” Mr Holomisa told the local Mail and Guardian newspaper. “With some family members living in Johannesburg and others in the Eastern Cape, it becomes important to make sure everyone is kept up to speed with the developments.”

“One does not want to leave the elders behind,” he added.

Makaziwe Mandela, the Nobel Peace laureate's eldest daughter has been shuttling between Qunu and Pretoria, where her father is being treated since he was hospitalized earlier this month.

As a former president, Mr Mandela's funeral, in the event of his death, would be arranged by the government. The current president, Jacob Zuma, has issued regular updates on his predecessor's health but has declined to release exact details of his condition.