Africa

Nelson Mandela grand-daughters tweet about burial row

Swati Dlamini (L) and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway in Pretoria on 10 July 2013
Image caption Swati Dlamini (L) and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway say the Mandela family is united

Two grand-daughters of Nelson Mandela took to the social networking site Twitter for nine hours to answer questions about his health and the dispute over his burial site.

Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini said Mr Mandela, South Africa's first black president, "smiles" and the family remained united.

The two take part in a reality TV show, Being Mandela, first shown in the US.

Mr Mandela, 94, is critically ill in hospital in the capital, Pretoria.

He was admitted more than a month ago with a recurring lung infection.

A statement from the presidency on Tuesday said he remains critical but stable.

Mr Mandela was jailed for 27 years for fighting white minority, before being freed in 1990 and elected president in 1994. He stood down after five years in power.

'Eye movement'

Two weeks ago, a row broke out in Mr Mandela's family over his burial site and those of three of his children, who died in 1947, 1969 and 2005.

A court ruled that the graves of the children should be relocated from Mvezo, Mr Mandela's birthplace, to Qunu, his retirement home in South Africa's Eastern Cape province.

The court action was brought by 16 members of the family who accused Mr Mandela's grandson, Mandla, of unlawfully moving the three graves to Mvezo in 2011 so that Mr Mandela would also be buried there.

In response to a question, Ms Dlamini-Manaway and Ms Dlamini said they were not proud of the way things turned out.

"They had to happen and at the end we are still family," they said on their Twitter feed, Being Mandela.

Asked how the family planned to rebuild unity, they said: "We allow the elders of the family to guide us... The unity has never left, it was just one member that decided differently. We will always love our cousin [Mandla]."

On Mr Mandela's health, Ms Dlamini-Manaway and Ms Dlamini said he "smiles" and communicates with "eyes and eye movement".

The two are the children of Zenani Mandela, daughter of Mr Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Mr Mandela divorced twice and is now married to Mozambican Graca Machel.

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