South Africans prepare to celebrate Mandela Day, but grandson fights rumours over selling funeral rights

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela has called on his fellow countrymen to dedicate time to serving their communities as his life is celebrated on Saturday. He would be turning 91 on Saturday.

Mandela is quoted saying, “We are humbled by the call for an annual Mandela Day in our honour. Our struggle for freedom and justice was a
collective effort. Mandela Day is no different… It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” he said.

Mandela Day will not be a holiday but a day devoted to service. “It is our hope that people will dedicate their time and effort to improve the conditions within their own communities. We thank you for participating in Mandela Day,” he said.

Mandela Day was instituted at the urging of the Nelson Mandela Foundation to celebrate his 67 years in politics, from his pivotal role in the anti- apartheid struggle, to his presidency and his work as mediator in peace talks and as an HIV/AIDS activist.

Curent president Jacob Zuma outlined plans to commemorate the political life of the Nobel Prize laureate in his State of the Nation speech earlier this year, reports say. His call was for all South Africans to dedicate 67 minutes of their time in service of others on Mandela’s birthday.

Each minute represents a year of Mandela’s life spent fighting for freedom and justice. “We can best honour our icon, Madiba, through attempting in our own small ways to do what he would be proud of. Nothing would please him more than to see all South Africans, black and white, active in the
service of humanity,” Zuma said.

Selling Mandela’s funeral?

Meanwhile, Mandela’s favourite grandson, chief Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, is considering legal action over reports that he “sold” his grandfather’s funeral to the South Africa Broadcasting Co-operation (SABC)

Mandela junior said the broadcaster should clarify who was responsible for spreading the funeral rumour.

South African media at the weekend reported that the public broadcaster would supposedly have paid him R3m for the broadcasting rights to the funeral.

He said this allegation was “unfounded and false”, since he never at any stage had such a conversation with the SABC. He is now seeking legal advice on the matter.

“Due to my personal admiration for (my grandfather) I would never trade on his name and reputation. Therefore I reject with contempt the malicious suggestions in the media that I sold the rights to his funeral to the SABC.”

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