South Africa: Mandela’s family ends mourning

Family of the late South African President Nelson Mandela ended the traditional mourning period for him on Sunday with a cleansing ceremony and burning of their black mourning clothes.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Daludumo Mtirara said on Monday that a cleansing ceremony was performed in Qunu, where Mandela was buried and traditional beet and meat served during the ceremony.

He said since Mandela’s death, his wife Graca Machel and ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had been wearing black and not been allowed to make public appearances as a sign of mourning. Mtirara said the clan has formally freed the late icon’s two widows from the mourning period, and they are now free to serve the people of South Africa and the continent without any hindrance.

 “These elders must go back and start to serve the communities because this is what Madiba was always telling us,” he said. “They must also start where Madiba left and continue to make sure that they make value to the people of South Africa.

“They must make sure that we make the people of South Africa proud that this icon has left us with vigilant and strong wives,” he added. One of the elders added that the mourning period and the end of it have significant role in reaffirming the relationship between the wives and the family of the Dlomo clan. “We also do confirm and accept our grannies Graca and Winnie that they are still wives of the Dlomo clan not necessarily their late husband’’, he said. “We are here to give them as much support as we can as long as they still remain with us till death do them part’’, he added. Mandela came from the Xhosa tribe and according to its tradition; the mourning period takes 12 months as a sign of respect for the dead.

But in Mandela’s case, it was reportedly agreed to shorten the mourning period to six months. Mandela, an anti-apartheid icon and South Africa’s first black president, died of a lung disease in Johannesburg on Dec. 5.
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