A last-ditch attempt by the Jezile royal family in Mthatha to move the funeral of late television star Akhumzi Jezile to Eastern Cape failed yesterday.
An emotionally charged meeting between Jezile’s mother and her in-laws, led by Chief Daluxolo Nkosinathi Jezile, resolved to bury Jezile at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg, as per her wishes.
It is understood that the delegation from the Eastern Cape wanted Jezile to be buried on his ancestral grounds in Mthatha.
By 5pm yesterday, Percy Vilakazi, the family spokesman, issued a statement to confirm the original plan.
Chief Daluxolo seconded the statement by the family.
“Our family would like to acknowledge all the messages of condolences, love and wellwishes that we’ve been inundated with from all over the country, expressing their sadness over Akhumzi’s passing, as well as the friends he was with,” the chief said.
“Akhumzi was indeed loved and valued by all of us. The funeral, as stated, will take place on Saturday, 5th May 2018 in Randburg at Rhema Bible Church. The procession will leave the church for the Westpark Cemetery thereafter.”
The tussle was kept from the public eye but Sowetan understands that a delegation from the Eastern Cape descended on Johannesburg to convince his mother to move the funeral to the village. The delegation had also wanted rituals to be performed as they said Jezile was of royal descent.
Jezile and four other people, including singer and actress Siyasanga Kobese, actor Thobani Mseleni and Urban Brew IT specialist Skhumbuzo Mbuthuma were killed in a head on collision on the N6 near Queenstown on Saturday morning.
According to a close family friend who declined to be named, apart from Chief Daluxolo, the delegation from the Eastern Cape included an uncle plus another family representative.
Another family friend who visited the family home in the Eastern Cape said the family had hoped to reach an agreement after today’s memorial service.
Vilakazi further confirmed the family meeting yesterday.
“Sometimes there are complaints about people [not] arriving on time for funerals. So there were those talks, but as things stand right now, nothing has changed,” he said.
A memorial service for Jezile will be held at the Rhema Bible Church today at 2pm.
Mseleni’s memorial service will be held on Wednesday at The Market Theatre at 2pm.