Tutu turns to God after family fight

2015-05-17 15:00

Leah Tutu is devastated that her eldest grandchild has, according to her, gone off the rails, but Ziyanda Tutu says she feels “upset and victimised” by her 81-year-old grandmother.

South Africans were given a glimpse this week of the fractured relationships in one of our most famous families.

The head of the family, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu – who spent the week praying for guidance – is a renowned peacemaker, but peace eluded his family this week.

Speaking to City Press on the phone yesterday from her home in Milnerton, Cape Town, a resolute-sounding Leah Tutu spoke of how she had finally had enough of her granddaughter’s antics.

Leah said she was “heartbroken” by her granddaughter’s behaviour – but was determined to see the matter go to court.

“It is in the hands of the police now,” she said.

Leah laid two criminal charges against Ziyanda at the Milnerton Police Station near their house last week, following a family fight that saw crockery flying.

According to police information electronically forwarded to City Press, Leah laid charges of malicious damage to property – “damage by hands” – to their home on May 7, followed by a charge of intimidation on May 9.

A source close to the 83-year-old retired Anglican archbishop said he had turned to God for guidance and spent hours praying for his family this week.

Meanwhile, his party-loving eldest grandchild did not deny allegations that she smashed the family crockery during a fight last week.

Yesterday, Ziyanda (30) told City Press that she was no longer on speaking terms with her famous grandparents. She said that, in particular, her relationship with her grandmother had “never been good”.

“I’m not in touch with them. Soon, I will tell my side of the story, but not right now,” she said.

Her father is Trevor Tutu, his parents’ troubled and only son.

Ziyanda dismissed rumours that she had a drinking problem. “I drink alcohol, but I am not an alcoholic. I have never been to rehab,” she said.

Meanwhile, a source close to the police investigation said Ziyanda had a history of fights and interdicts stemming from a troubled relationship with a boyfriend, who the source declined to name. The boyfriend, described as “humble and reserved”, was apparently receiving psychiatric counselling, the source said.

Ziyanda, a qualified wine maker and prolific socialite in well-heeled Boland circles, drew gasps this week when she hung her family’s dirty laundry out to dry on social-media platforms. “We are waging war. Truths will be revealed,” she wrote on Twitter.

She did not hand herself over to the police on Friday, despite an earlier announcement on Twitter that she would.

She told City Press: “Nothing happened on Friday. I have not gone to the police yet. I feel upset and victimised and don’t know what to do next. I will speak, but first have to discuss it with my adviser.”

After a short stint as a dancer, Ziyanda studied towards a BSc in viticulture and oenology at the Elsenburg College outside Stellenbosch. She worked at the posh Warwick Wine Estate’s tasting room until two years ago.

Photographs posted on social media and blog sites show her in designer gowns sipping wine next to rich and famous party-goers.

Ziyanda said the past few days had been tough.

“If it wasn’t for the Tshabalala family [her mother’s family], I would have collapsed. Their support and that of my father has kept me going,” she said.

Her father has made many headlines over the years. He was arrested at East London Airport in 1989 for threatening to explode a bomb on board an SAA plane, delaying the flight by three hours and costing the national carrier R28 000. He was also in the news for not paying maintenance for his son by a Zimbabwean woman, who moved to Canada.

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January 12 2020