Following AbaThembu tradition, my family helped with the delivery of my first child. He was born in Johannesburg. Then, when we were sure that he was strong enough to undertake a journey, we drove home to the Eastern Cape, to Qunu, so he could be introduced to his father’s family. The baby was about two-weeks-old. We arrived in Qunu on a Thursday and the following day he was taken to meet his great-grandfather who, as the family elder, was responsible for naming him. My mother, mother-in-law and other members of the family went with us to present the baby. Granddad named him Qheya II Zanethemba, which means ‘one who brings hope’.
I believe Granddad was very happy and relieved. Some of his other grandchildren have babies but my husband, Nkosi Zwelivelile, is the eldest grandson and the successor to the Mandela chieftaincy that was taken away from Granddad’s father, Nkosi Mphkanyiswa about 90 years ago. Qheya II Zanethemba’s birth represents continuity, a continuation of the Mandela traditional leadership
Since we were all living in Qunu I made sure that baby Qheya II Zanethemba visited his great-grandfather every afternoon. Sometimes baby would sit next to him, and sometimes he would fall asleep in his arms. Granddad enjoys babies so much. Babies have an aura around them that make Granddad smile, which adults cannot always do.
Quote: "Babies have an aura around them that make Granddad smile."