Not even late former president Nelson Mandela’s name has been spared as abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo traded insults with Mandela’s grandson Mandla this week.
Both the Dalindyebo and Mandela families belong to the nucleus of the abaThembu royal family, the amaDlomo, who run the tribe. The other families in the royal family are Mtirara, Matanzima, Joyi and Mnqanqeni.
While the Dalindyebos are the most senior of the royal family, the Mandelas are the most junior and, traditionally, the king and the Mvezo chief – currently Mandla – are regarded as brothers.
Dalindyebo was the one who bestowed the chieftaincy of the Mvezo Traditional Council on Mandla back in 2007 at Madiba’s request.
But the two had a fallout when Mandla joined those members of the royal family who wrote to President Jacob Zuma in 2012 asking him to strip the errant king of his title.
This week, Dalindyebo fired a shot at Mandla at a meeting at the Bumbane Great Place when he accused the late Madiba of having been behind his prosecution in the first place.
“I always tell you that I was persecuted by Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. One of the leading characters in this fake royal family is Madiba’s grandson Mandla. His [Mandla’s] chieftaincy depends on my mercy.
“I am not spiteful. If I was, I would take back that chieftaincy. [Mandla] is like an ungrateful pig. I oversaw his initiation from a boy to manhood. He is supposed to respect me the most. We don’t even know his mother. If I wanted to, I would take even his praise name [Zwelivelile], because even that he got from me.”
An angry Mandla Mandela responded, cautioning the king to keep his late grandfather out of the mess and to focus on clearing his name instead.
“My grandfather had nothing to do with the case against Dalindyebo. He was charged by the authorities. Madiba is not a complainant in this case. He was not a witness and you will never find his name in any of the affidavits of this case,” Mandla said.
The Mvezo chief also laughed off claims by Dalindyebo that the late global icon was a dictator.
“He [Dalindyebo] must write a book and tell us all these things he knows about my grandfather that we clearly don’t know. In that way, we can also learn from him. As the family of Mandela, we are not against the Dalindyebo house. We don’t know where these things come from, but we would like to be left alone. We are peace-loving people,” Mandla said.
It is not the first time that the two have had a public spat. In 2013, following yet another fallout, Mandla remarked: “We are dealing with a delusional incumbent who somewhat smokes all sorts of things.”
This was an apparent jab at the king’s habit of smoking dagga.
Mandla said the Mandela family was not interested in taking over the kingship and that even if they were, they would not be eligible because they were the most junior members of the royal household.
Mandla said he did not want to engage Dalindyebo on petty things, but challenged him and others to peruse court files and see if his grandfather’s name appeared among initial complainants in the case against Dalindyebo.