Mandela's 3 deceased children reburied under court order as wife says ailing former president seldom in pain

Former South African President Nelson Mandela as he celebrates his birthday with family in Qunu, South Africa, Wednesday, July 18, 2012. Across the country, and even abroad, people are doing good deeds to honor the country's most famous statesman on his 94th birthday Wednesday. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam) Schalk van Zuydam

JOHANNESBURG The remains of Nelson Mandela's three deceased children were reburied at their original resting site on Thursday, a day after a court ordered their return two years after a Mandela grandson moved the bodies.

Family members and community elders attended a ceremony on the Mandela property that included the singing of hymns. The reburial took place in Qunu, Mandela's hometown and the place the former president has said he wants to be buried. Forensic tests earlier confirmed the remains were those of Mandela's children.

Grandson Mandla Mandela moved the bodies to his village of Mvezo — Nelson Mandela's birthplace — in 2011. The two towns are about 15 miles apart. Fifteen Mandela family members pursued court action last week to force the grandson to move the bodies.

The bitter family feud comes as Mandela remains in critical condition nearly a month after being hospitalized for a recurring lung infection. A Mandela family court affidavit, obtained by the Mail and Guardian newspaper, said Mandela is on life support in the form of a breathing respirator.

Mandla Mandela — the oldest male Mandela heir and a tribal chief — told a news conference on Thursday that "my grandfather like myself would be highly disappointed in what is unraveling."

Meanwhile, Mandela's wife said the former president is sometimes uncomfortable but seldom in pain while being treated in a hospital.

Graca Machel spoke about her husband's condition at a fundraising drive for a children's hospital that will be named after the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader.

"Whatever is the outcome of his stay in hospital, that will remain the second time where he offered his nation an opportunity to be united under the banner of our flag, under the banner of our constitution," she said.

Mandela, who was hospitalized on June 8, remains in critical but stable condition, according to a statement Thursday by President Jacob Zuma's office. Zuma visited Mandela Thursday, said the statement.

Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years during white racist rule and was freed in 1990 before being elected president in all-race elections. He won the Nobel Peace Prize along with former President F.W. de Klerk.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now