dr-julius-garveyDuring a visit to United Kingdom (UK) on a five-day tour of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham, as part of the Black History Month celebrations across Britain, Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, called for greater unity among Afro-Caribbean nationals at home and abroad, saying that, “To a certain extent, we lost our identity and we lost our unity as a people…and this is what he [Marcus Garvey] tried to bring back to us as a people. His father was a pioneering Black Rights activist and one of the founders of the ‘Back to Africa’ movement.

Emphasising the need to return to “belief systems and principles that go back to the beginning of history,” Dr. Garvey urged people of African descent to think internationally and not follow a history created for them by someone else.

Dr. Garvey said that Afro-Caribbean nationals need to return to Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African principles and values, and that Black History Month alone will not awaken the history and identity of black people in Britain and around the world.

He lamented that much of the African legacy and values has been lost or distorted and as a free people there is a need to fight for social and economic freedom. He added that black people need to read and write their own history, rather than using that which has been manufactured by others.

Meanwhile, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Aloun N’dombet Assamba, praised Dr. Garvey for continuing along the path that his father blazed almost 100 years ago.

“Marcus Garvey was a powerful orator who rallied hundreds of thousands of people in Jamaica and across the world in his quest to deal with discrimination and injustice, and build black economic power. He did so at a time when there was no internet, no telephone, and no modern communications. Imagine the impact he would have had today,” High Commissioner Assamba said.

Source: Repeating Islands

For original post, see

Dr. O. B. AliuA Nigerian, Dr. Olumuyiwa Babatunde Aliu has been elected President of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the umbrella world body for Aviation safety. The election makes him the very first black man ever to head the world body. He was elected on Novermber 18, 2013 at the 38th Assembly of the organisation in Montreal, Canada by an assembly consisting of 172 countries.  

Aliu received full support from the Federal Government and Nigerians both at home and in Diaspora as the Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah led the Nigerian delegation to drum up support for the accomplished veteran who has built invaluable goodwill among ICAO member countries’ representatives.

Aliu’s election also confirms the recognition of the increasing strength of the Nigerian aviation industry and the Honourable Minister’s campaign for his election as President of ICAO Council showed that he is also receiving full support from his home country. 

The Minister, while in Canada last month also paid a courtesy call on the out-going President of the Council in his office as part of the strategy to secure his continuous support for Nigeria and also hosted several bilateral meetings with delegates of United States, the European Union and several others.

Accompanied by Director Generals and CEOs of Nigerian aviation agencies, the Minister garnered support and pledges from many countries and regional groups, as well as international aviation stakeholders, such as Airport Council International (ACI), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). There was also a robust exchange of ideas on initiatives and programmes for the development of the aviation industry in Nigeria.

The 36 members of the ICAO Council constituted the Electoral College for the election of the President of the Council. Nigeria joined ICAO in 1960 and was elected into the Council of ICAO in 1962 as a Part II member State and the country has since remained on the Council and has continued to promote the interest of Nigeria and Africa on the Council as well as contribute to the sustainable development and growth of civil aviation in the region

By this election, Nigeria has become the first African country to produce the President of ICAO Council. Through this position, Nigeria can exert influence in international aviation community for the benefit of the country’s aviation industry and the national economy. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Mr George Ossi, congratulated the President of Nigeria, the Honnourable Minister of Aviation and the entire people of Nigeria on this historic election.

Original Source: African Travel Quarterly

NEW YORK, New York – In the ongoing celebration of the country’s 45th Anniversary of their Independence from Spain, South African Arts International recently announced that Mrs. Constancia Mangue Nsue de Obiang, First Lady of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has been proclaimed “Mother Africa”.

“This covenant acclamation has been previously awarded to Mrs. Winni Mandela for her efforts in South Africa and the impact she rightfully exhorts worldwide”, said Victor Mooney founder and executive director of New York based South African Arts International, Lequatorialtd.

“The First Lady of Equatorial Guinea is the epitome of perfection”, Mr. Mooney added.

Mrs. Constancia Mangue Nsue de Obiang, wife of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, social activities have made her a fundamental figure for the evolution of women and girls of Equatorial Guinea. The First Lady was recently presented with the Millennium Development Goals 2013 Women’s Progress award in New York recently.

She was born in 1952 in the town of Angong, near Mongomo, and studied in the school run by nuns in Bata. In 1985 she created the Equatorial Guinean Child Aid Committee (Canige), a non-governmental, apolitical and non-profit institution of which she is Honorary Chairwoman and through which she has carried out innumerable social works. For years she has personally been in charge of seeing that many children with especially complicated clinical cases receive medical attention even outside the country. The Canige also dedicates special attention to the fight against juvenile delinquency and has promoted the creation of the teaching centers of María Jesús Oyarregui (in memory of the mother superior of the St. Theresa’s convent where the First Lady studied), and the Nana Mangue of Malabo.

The First Lady of Equatorial Guinea also belongs to the National Committee of the Fight against AIDS, is honorary Vice Chairman of the Association for National Solidarity for the Disabled (Assonam) and holds similar positions in different social associations of Africa, such as Mission for Peace of the First Ladies of Central Africa. She has participated in numerous international meetings on women’s rights and the fight to improve with rights of the most vulnerable layers of society and was elected Doctor Honoris Causa by the Inter-American University of Humanistic Sciences of Buenos Aires. Mrs. Obiang is a graduate of the Martin Luther King University School of Teacher Training.

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea (República de Guinea Ecuatorial) is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, and one of the smallest nations on the continent. In the late-1990s, American companies helped discover the country's oil and natural gas resources, which only within the last five years began contributing to the global energy supply. Equatorial Guinea is now working to serve as a pillar of stability and security in its region of West Central Africa.


Original source:

Mystery-RiverENUGU — A healing mystery stream has surprisingly appeared in Nachi community in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, almost 42 years after it allegedly surfaced and disappeared in the same place.

The  miracle stream, as it is now fondly called by millions of Nigerians, both young and old, especially sick ones and their relations, surfaced and disappeared in 1972 and reappeared this time around in the area about two weeks ago.

The mystery stream

The stream is about 4km away from the old Oji River/Onitsha road. According to reports, the stream, which has continued to attract healing seekers, was first noticed by a Fulani herdsman who went to the area to feed his cattle, and suddenly saw water gushing out from a sandy farm land close to where he was standing.

According to a source, before the Fulani man could turn his back, the entire area had water about five feet deep.The Fulani herdsman was said to have alerted some farmers in the community about what he saw. They went to see things for themselves, after which they took the news to the traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Highness Igwe Onuigbo, Obi (11) of Nachi.

A visit to the wonder stream, Tuesday, showed that the community had turned it into a pilgrimage centre with the development, opening up  windows of business for the people, especially plastic container sellers, food vendors, commercial motorcyclists and vehicle operators as they now make brisk businesses.

Healing testimonies

Meanwhile, there had been scores of alleged healing testimonies from sick people who  either swam in or drank from the stream.  According to reports, dozens of people, young and old including security operatives were seen fetching the water just as many were taking their bath in the stagnated stream, believing it would cure ailments.

Some people  said to have been taken to the stream last Saturday with crutches and other supporting devices, were said to have gone home rejoicing after dipping themselves in the stream.

One Mr. Cyril  Eneh, a civil servant, shortly after coming out of the water was quoted as saying: “Indeed, this is a miraculous water, people with different sicknesses have been coming here to receive their healing. And I also have the faith and strong belief that God Almighty, who provided this water will use it to tackle every health challenge in my life.”

Also speaking, an octogenarian and community leader in Nachi, Mr. Festus Udeh, said the stream surfaces and disappears every 20 to 30 years, adding that it forbids evil things. He said any evil doer that goes to the stream might run into serious problem.

Source: African Travel Quarterly


Iarikairn October 30, 2006, we started this important journey of changing the face of air travel in Nigeria and across West Africa. 

We made a promise to make travel with us safe, comfortable and reliable by employing the most modem equipment manned by highly trained and experienced crew. We launched our domestic operations using brand new, state-of-the-art, Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft we were, in fact, the Canadian based manufacturer's African launch customer for this aircraft type. Though it seems like only yesterday, we are glad to announce that your airline is now 7 years old. Seven years down the line, 

we look back with humility at the distance travelled and gather ourselves for the journey ahead towards our goal of becoming Africa's premier airline. For the here and now, however, any success achieved must be rightly ascribed to your unwavering loyalty and support. From the depth of our heart, we say a very big thank you. Thank you for believing in us; thank you for demanding better from us; and thank you for challenging us (daily) to reach greater heights.

As we celebrate our 7th anniversary as an airline (and your number one choice for travel within Nigeria, Africa and across our intercontinental network) we want to renew our commitment to providing you a safe, comfortable and reliable airline of which you can be truly proud.

We will continue with our tradition of deploying state of the art equipment. We are proud to say that today; we remain the only Nigerian airline operating new, modern aircraft with Next Generation (NG) leading-edge design and technology. Our fleet of 25 aircraft (2 Airbus A340-500, 2 Airbus A330-200, 4 Boeing 737-800NG, 9 Boeing 737-700NG, 4 Bombardier CRJ900, 2 Bombardier Q400 and 2 Hawker 800XP Executive Jets) currently enjoys an average age of 6.5 years only.

World Class Maintenance The above notwithstanding, a modern fleet is, in the final analysis, only ever as good as both the maintenance service provider and governing maintenance programme. To this end, we have been resolute in our determination to marry our world-class fleet together with equally world-leading maintenance service providers such as Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Cityline, Iberia Engineering and Samco Engineering. These "full service, in-country" relationships have been secured under long-term contracts thus reaffirming our commitment to your continued travel safety.

Our safety record is as a result of our fastidious adherence to standards set by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Currently, Arik Air is the only Nigerian airline registered under the auspice of the "International Air Transport Association (lATA) Operational Safety Audit" (IOSA for short). "IOSA" is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines and is the primary prerequisite for membership of lATA. Arik Air has been (and remains) a fully-fledged member of lATA since 2011.

 Our renewed focus is on the introduction and deployment of technologies that will not only increase your in-flight travel comfort but will also avail you of more convenient avenues by which to book flights, get updates on your travel, contact us and check-in for your scheduled travel. For instance:

 Arik Air's new-look website ( provides a safe and simplified booking system with check-in online facilities. While
our mobile site ( offers moden travelers the ability to search, select, book and pay for our services whilst on the move.Arik Air's mobile app is the next step in Arik's mobile technology evolution and will be available to all our guests as from
December 2013.

These, and many more services to come (such as our soon to be re-launched loyalty program), underscore our commitment
to deliver you a world-class travel experience built on our core values of safety, reliability, comfort and convenience.Your abiding faith in our operations is what has kept us going these past seven years and we cannot but thank you for this.
We implore you to keep supporting us with your patronage and loyalty. Together we can make Arik Air not only the pride of our great country Nigeria but also of Africa and, ultimately, the World at large.




Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide is President /Chief Executive Officer at Arik Air International Ltd.

Arik International provides logistical business support and management consultancy services to Arik Air Limited (Nigeria). Dr Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, who has served as the airline’s executive director, set up Arik International (headquartered in London, UK) in April 2007.


Source: African Travel Quarterly

obamaUS President Barack Obama was among over 90 top leaders from around the globe who attended the memorial service of the late great Nelson Mandela.  About 100, 000 mourners attended the service in the World Cup soccer stadium where the anti-apartheid hero made his last public appearance.

Leaders who attended the services included:

Afghanistan: His Excellency Hamid Karzai, President
African Union Commission: Her Excellency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson
Algeria: His Excellency Mr Abdelkader Bensalah, Speaker of the Council of the Nation (Senate) – rank above the Prime Minister
Angola: His Excellency Mr Manuel Vicente, Vice President
Arab States League: His Excellency Amb Samir Hosny, Minister
Argentina: Mr Amado Boudou, Acting President of Argentina
Australia: His Excellency Mr Tony Abbott, MP, Prime Minister
Bahamas: Right Honourable Perry Christie, Prime Minister
Bangladesh: His Excellency Mr Abdul Hamid, President
Belgium: His Royal Highness King Philippe
Benin: His Excellency Boni Yayi, President
Botswana: His Excellency Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President
Brazil: Her Excellency Dilma Rousseff, President
Burundi: His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President
Canada: His Excellency Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
Chad: His Excellency Mr Idriss Déby Itno, President
China: His Excellency Li Yuanchao, Vice President
Commonwealth of Nations: His Excellency, Mr Kamalesh Sharma
Comores: His Excellency Ikililou Dhoinine, President
Congo (Republic of the Congo): His Excellency Mr Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President
Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo): His Excellency Joseph Kabila, President
Côte d'Ivoire: His Excellency President Allassane Ouattara, President
Croatia: His Excellency Ivo Josipović, President
Cuba: His Excellency Raúl Castro Ruz, President
Denmark: His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Federick
Djibouti: His Excellency Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President
Ethiopia: His Excellency Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister
Equatorial Guinea: His Excellency Mr Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, President
European Council: His Excellency Mr Herman van Rompuy, President
France: His Excellency, François Holland, President
Finland: His Excellency Sauli Väinämö Niinistö, President
obaGhana: His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President
Guyana: His Excellency Donald Ramotar, President
Gabon: His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President
Germany: His Excellency Joachim Gauck, President
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: His Royal Highness Henry of Luxembourg, The Grand Duke
Guinea: His Excellency Prof Alpha Condé, President
India: His Excellency Pranab Mukherjee, President
Ireland: His Excellency Michael D Higgins, President
Italy: His Excellency Enrico Letta, Prime Minister
Japan: His Imperial Highness, Crown Prince Naruhito
Jamaica: Her Excellency, Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister
Jordan: Her Royal Highness, Queen Rania Al Abdullah and His Excellency Prime Minister Dr Abdullah Ensou
Kenya: His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President
Korea (South): His Excellency Hongwon Chung, Prime Minister
Lebanon: His Excellency Mr Najib Mikati, Prime Minister
Lesotho: His Excellency, Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister
Liberia: Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President
Mauritania: His Excellency Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President
Mauritius: His Excellency Dr the Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister
Malawi: Her Excellency Joyce Banda, President
Mexico: His Excellency Enrique Peña Nieto, President
Mozambique: His Excellency Armando Emílio Guebuza, President
Namibia: His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba, President
New Zealand: Right Hon John Key, Prime Minister
Niger: His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, President
Nigeria: His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan, President
Norway: His Royal Highness Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway
Pakistan: His Excellency Mr Mamnoon Hussain, President
Palestinian State: His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President
Portugal: His Excellency, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President
Sahrawi Republic: His Excellency Mr Mohamed Abdelaziz, President
Saudi Arabia: His Royal Highness Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince
Senegal: His Excellency Macky Sall, President
Serbia: His Excellency Tomislav Nikolić, President
Seychelles: His Excellency Mr James Alix Michel
Slovenia: His Excellency Borut Pahor, President
South Sudan: His Excellency General Salva Kiir Mayardi, President
Spain: His Royal Highness Felipe de Borbón, The Prince of Asturias
Sri Lanka: His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President
Suriname: His Excellency Desiré Delano Bouterse, President
Swaziland: His Excellency Dr Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister
Sweden: Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria, and Fredrik Reinfeldt
Prime Minister
Switzerland: His Excellency Mr Ulrich Maurer, President
Tanzania: His Excellency Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President
The Gambia: His Excellency Prof Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, President Sheikh
Timor-Leste: His Excellency Kay Rala Xanana, Prime Minister
Trinidad and Tobago: Her Excellency Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister
Tunisia: His Excellency Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, President
Uganda: His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, President
United Arab Emirates: His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture – Special Envoy of the Emir
United Kingdom: His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prime Minister David Cameron
United States of America: His Excellency Barack Obama, President
Venezuela: His Excellency Nicolás Maduro Moros, President
Zambia: His Excellency Michael Sata, President
Zimbabwe: His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President


Source: Africa Travel Quarterly

Ann Brown of The Network Journal writes about her interview with Angie Hancock and Experience Harlem:

angieinsideSeven years ago, Experience: Harlem was launched by Angie Hancock as an information and entertainment portal for all things Harlem. Today, it has been the go-to site for anyone—from New York residents to first-time visitors--wanting to connect and “experience” the special venues and well kept-secrets that Harlem has to offer. After moving to Harlem in 2003, Hancock, CEO of Experience: Harlem, fell in love with the historic New York neighborhood and wanted to allow others to have the same experience. In addition to the website, she also compiles a comprehensive guide also named Experience: Harlem, which is now in its 4th edition. Under the Experience: Harlem umbrella, Hancock hosts events at various Harlem restaurants and publishes a Experience: Harlem newsletter as well. For more information, visit

Source: The Network Journal

To read the interview with Hancock, visit:

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art is receiving a $1.8 million gift from Oman, the largest donation in the museum's history.

jonetta coleThe gift announced Wednesday will fund a series of programs called "Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa." It will focus on Omani arts and culture and the links between cultures in East and North Africa and the Middle East. Oman is a country of 4 million on the southwest coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

Museum director Johnnetta Betsch Cole says the gift is a significant milestone for the museum, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

Dr. Cole, who has served as president of both Bennet College in Greensboro, NC. and Spelman College in Atlanta, the only two black female colleges in the nation, as director oversees a collection of 9,100 objects in the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation and study of the arts of Africa.


harvey-price steel-drumChristine Barba reports for The University of Delaware Review on a music professor who is setting up a steel-drum band in Israel to unite Jewish and Arab students:

Traveling with 24 cases of musical instruments in a foreign country was not an easy feat, says [University of Delaware] Music Professor Harvey Price, upon his return from his trip to Israel. Price boarded the plane to Israel with so many instruments because he is starting a steel-drum band there for Jewish and Arab students.

Since Israel was established in 1948, there has been tension between Jews and Arabs over territory. Price says he started this band because he wanted to unite students from different religious groups and change their outlook toward one another. “It could be a really amazing movement, or it could impact 20 or 30 kids every year, so that would be great too,” Price says. “The idea is to get a group going probably in a year or so that is capable of touring and showcasing the idea that Arabs and Jews can work together and create music. They’ll play concerts in Israel and Europe and the United States.”

Price traveled to a village in the north of Israel in the Galilee region, where the Mar Elias Educational Institution is located, a school known for working with multi-ethnic groups. He says he joined sixth-grade Arab Muslim and Christian students, along with Uri Nadir, a music teacher in Israel, who will continue practicing with the band after he leaves. The Jewish students, who live farther away, will join the group next month, Price says. Currently, their goal is to teach 20 students—10 Arab students and 10 Jewish students—who were selected by teachers in Israel, Price says.

Price says he has been to Israel about six to eight times, and he previously created two other youth bands in Israel who also play steel drums. One band is made up of Ethiopian refugees who came to Israel, and the other band is comprised of abused and neglected children, he says.

[. . .] During his trip, Price taught students songs from Trinidad because he said people typically associate music from the Caribbean with the steel drum and also taught students about the history of the steel drum. The students have no prior musical backgrounds, Price says. He says he chose the steel drums because they are excellent teaching tools. “As opposed to a string orchestra where it takes about a year to get a sound out of a violin, with this, you can get a sound out of it immediately, and it’s a really beautiful sound,” Price says. [. . .]

Source: Repeating Islands

For the complete article, go to


adjaye insideAccording to writer Sergie Willoughby in an article for The Network Journal, architect David Adjaye is forging a new kind of global architecture:

 In 2009, Tanzania-born architect David Adjaye was commissioned to design the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., set to open in 2015. Now, he has won the Wall Street Journal Magazine’s 2013 Innovator Award.  

With a global design firm that has offices in New York, London, Berlin and Ghana, 47-year old Adjaye has worked on several high-profile design projects including private homes for celebrities; an affordable apartment complex in Harlem; and a furniture line with noted design house Knoll.  He reportedly beat out 69 other architects when he won the $500 million Smithsonian contract.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Adjaye says his upbringing, travels and African identity greatly influenced many of his design ideas for the new museum: "My father articulated a set of ideals to me, always very softly. Just certain points about being strong about your identity, about who you are and not being intimidated by other cultures. And to understand that there's a world that exists beyond national boundaries."

The article goes on to describe the museum's structure: As seen in digital renderings, the structure appears as stacked inverted pyramids, a silhouette inspired, says Adjaye, by Yoruban sculpture. The patterning of the decorative bronze grilles on the museum's façade, reminiscent of African metalwork, will allow light to filter into the building in a beguiling pattern, just as with the thatched lattices of some traditional African dwellings. The museum's very form, squatting massively on the last real buildable plot near to the Washington Monument, seems to suggest the earthy monumentality of such ancient African sites as Timbuktu and Great Zimbabwe. As he puts it, Adjaye's objective is to establish a kind of "classical" African sensibility, an architecture capable of forging a link between African American cultural traditions and their common roots in Africa itself. 

Source: The Network Journal  -



Poetry and Fiction Writing

Director & Editor of Callaloo
Charles Henry Rowell

May 18-24, 2014
The Department of Language, Linguistics & Literature, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill

TO APPLY:  Applications must be submitted online at no later than February 14, 2014. Each applicant must submit a brief cover letter and writing sample (no more than five pages of poetry or twelve pages of prose fiction). The application should be submitted under the BARBADOS CALLALOO CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP category. An applicant may apply in only one area: poetry or fiction. Otherwise the applicant will not be considered for admission.

Accoring to wirter David Smith in this article for The Guardian, "The former South African president's long imprisonment and devotion to politics has left a family squabbling over the legacy of Nelson Mandela.":


Nelson Mandela's family tree is tall with many divergent branches. Robbed of its patriarch, the tree must now try to withstand an ugly and unpredictable storm: a fight for his legacy that could turn Mandela against Mandela.

The former South African president married three times and fathered six children. Three predeceased him: one as an infant in 1948, another in a car crash in 1969 and a third from an Aids-related illness in 2005.

Mandela's surviving children are all women: Makaziwe, with his first wife, Evelyn Mase, and Zenani and Zindzi by his second wife, Winnie Madikizela.

Only Mandla, the eldest grandson, has followed him into parliament. Mandla was the first of the Mandelas to comment after his death, saying he was strengthened by the knowledge that his grandfather was finally at rest.

"All that I can do is thank God that I had a grandfather who loved and guided all of us in the family," Mandla said in a statement. "The best lesson that he taught all of us was the need for us to be prepared to be of service to our people."

All of his family suffered from Mandela's long imprisonment and his devotion to politics. Makaziwe reflected: "Tata [father] has had his time in politics and I think tata could not relate. He could maybe relate better to the grandchildren but to us, the children, all he knew is to be a strict disciplinarian and to provide. My dad provided to an extent the material things. But would I say tata was emotionally available? No, I don't think that he was."

Mandela divorced Winnie in 1996 and married Graça Machel. According to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, he leaves behind 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren but unlike the Kennedys or the Nehru-Gandhis, they could not be regarded as a political dynasty. The most damaging factional split is between the descendants of Evelyn and Winnie, or Mandela's "first" and "second" families.

In his biography Young Mandela, David James Smith writes: "Among the first family there is a feeling that they have been dispossessed, written out of Mandela's life. Among Winnie's family there is a sense that his first family have sometimes wanted to exploit Mandela's name, and the tensions between the two families have occasionally boiled over into open hostilities."

The first family has seen a power struggle between Makaziwe and Mandla, an African National Congress MP who bears a striking resemblance to the statesman and is seen as his political heir. Mandla has been dogged by allegations of bigamy and trying to sell the TV rights to his grandfather's funeral, which he vehemently denies.

Earlier this year Mandla insisted that there was no conflict in the family, but these words rang hollow in July when, as Mandela lay critically ill in hospital, a bitter feud spilled out into the open. Sixteen family members led by Makaziwe won a court case against Mandla over his 2011 decision to secretly exhume and rebury Mandela's three late children in the village of Mvezo, where Mandla is chief and has built a visitor centre. Within hours Mandla's gates were forced open and the bones collected and reburied in Qunu, where Mandela will be laid to rest. In response Mandla gave an angry press conference denouncing family members "squabbling" over Mandela's money.

mandelaNow the great unifier has gone, the Mandelas will either come together or fly apart. The eldest granddaughter, Ndileka, has spoken candidly about deep fissures among them. "Things are always bubbling beneath the surface," she told the Sunday Times magazine in 2013. "For me, I've come to accept that it's a fallacy to portray us as being together when the whole world knows we have huge differences. And those differences do exist, like any other family. It's just a pity that ours are played out in public."

She said of Mandela, whose health was then fading: "He's the glue that keeps us together. I shudder to think what will happen when that glue is no longer there, but we rally round and put our differences aside. Well, I'm not so sure we put them aside, but we pitch up for him."

The first family is all too aware that, while Evelyn is widely forgotten, Winnie remains a larger-than-life "mother of the nation" who was still close to her ex-husband at his death. A flawed heroine of the anti-apartheid struggle, she is unlikely to keep a low profile in the coming days or to bite her lip if she believes Mandela's memory is being betrayed.

A glimpse of potential conflict over his funeral was offered at his 90th birthday when Winnie and her family stayed away, reportedly after learning that Makaziwe would use it to launch her House of Mandela wine label.

Another crack emerged in 2012 when Winnie accused the governing ANC of "shabby treatment" and boycotted a Mandela memorial lecture. Her granddaughter, Swati Dlamini, spoke out in her defence, but Ndileka attended the lecture and claimed to be speaking on behalf of the entire family.

Meanwhile, Swati and another granddaughter, Zaziwe, have been accused of exploitation after starring in a reality TV series, Being Mandela, while promoting a LWTF (Long Walk to Freedom) fashion line of T-shirts bearing Mandela's image.

Most worryingly, there are fears of an unseemly struggle over Mandela's inheritance. Already Makaziwe and Zenani have launched a legal action to remove his long-time friend and lawyer, George Bizos, from the boards of two investment funds. Mandla opposed the suit while Bizos and his allies claim it is a pre-emptive effort to grab control of Mandela's considerable assets.

"There will be other assets, too, that Madiba's heirs will wrestle over when the time comes to wind up the estate," the Star of South Africa warned in an editorial, referring to Mandela by his clan name. "The squabbles will be bitter and vicious if the first salvoes in this war are anything to go by.

"If this process is not properly managed, there is the very real risk that the memory of a selfless icon who helped free a people, then build a new nation, could forever be tarnished by the greed of his own seed, who cumulatively do not appear to have a shred of the integrity of the man they all now want to feed off."

That is certainly the last thing Mandela would have wanted. He spoke of his regret at neglecting family life down the years and was presumably pained by whispers of discord towards the end.

His granddaughter Tukwini once said: "We've always asked him, 'Grandad, how do you want us to honour your name when you're gone?' He would say, 'Well, that's entirely up to you, I can't dictate to you, but my hope is that you guys will always do something positive to honour the name and that you will manage the name in a way that's dignified.' Those are the only two requirements from him in terms of how we manage the Mandela name and how we honour it."


Source: The Guardian :

Top photo: Winnie Mandela with children



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