Winnie challenges Nelson Mandela’s will, demands house

JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – Nelson Mandela’s second wife, Winnie, has launched a legal challenge to the will of the late anti-apartheid leader, the latest sign of feuding and bad blood in South Africa’s first family.

In a letter sent by her lawyer to the executors of Mandela’s estate, Madikizela-Mandela argued that her children should be in charge of Mandela’s ancestral home at Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where he was buried in December.

Madikizela-Mandela, a firebrand anti-apartheid activist who got divorced from Mandela in 1996 after it emerged she had cheated on him during his 27 years in prison, said she had bought the Qunu property in 1989 while Mandela was still behind bars, giving her ownership rights under traditional law.

Madikizela-Mandela was left nothing from Mandela’s $4.1 million estate, which was divided between his family, the ruling African National Congress party, former staff and several schools.

Each of his six children and some of his 17 grandchildren received $300,000. The Qunu property was left in a family trust.

However, the letter from lawyer Mvuzo Notyesi said the Qunu house should be given to Madikizela-Mandela’s two daughters, Zindzi and Zenani, and their children.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

“It is only in this home that the children and grandchildren of Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela can conduct their own customs and tradition,” said the letter, seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

“The children born in a marriage between Mr. Nelson Mandela and Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela shall be the joint custodians of the property, which devolve amongst their generations and generations,” it continued.

The spat is the latest in a string of feuds between different factions of the Mandela family.

In one of the most damaging episodes, Mandela’s oldest male heir – his grandson Mandla – exhumed the bodies of three of Mandela’s children from Qunu and moved them to the nearby village of Mvezo, where Mandla had built a visitor centre dedicated to his grandfather.

As Mandela lay in hospital on life support a year ago, a rival family faction led by Mandla’s aunt, Makaziwe, won a court order for the bodies to be re-exhumed and returned to Qunu.

Two weeks after Mandela’s death, South African newspapers reported that Makaziwe had changed the locks on the Qunu house to keep Mandla out and had written him a letter ordering him to remove his dogs from the property.

Makaziwe’s lawyer did not answer phone calls and Mandla’s spokesman declined to comment on the letter.

Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer said deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, the will’s main executor, had acknowledged receipt of the letter but gave no further details.

More in World News

default placeholder

Clinton makes history, wins U.S. Democrats’ White House nomination

PHILADELPHIA, (Reuters) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic Party’s 2016 nomination for the White House yesterday, becoming the first woman to head the ticket of a major party in U.S.

default placeholder

New York AG refuses to comply with U.S. House subpoena on Exxon probe

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – New York state’s attorney general yesterday said his office will not comply with a subpoena issued by U.S.

default placeholder

U.S. expands Central American refugee screening programme

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The Obama administration announced a broad expansion on Tuesday of a programme to let people fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras enter the United States as refugees, and said Costa Rica agreed to temporarily shelter some of those with no other recourse.

default placeholder

Islamists attack French church, slit priest’s throat

SAINT-ETIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY, France,  (Reuters) – Knife-wielding attackers interrupted a French church service, forced the priest to his knees and slit his throat yesterday, a murder made even more shocking as one of the assailants was a known would-be jihadist under supposedly tight surveillance.

default placeholder

13 people killed in Somali suicide bombing claimed by al Shabaab

MOGADISHU, (Reuters) – Suicide bombers killed at least 13 people at the gates of the African Union’s main peacekeeping base in the Somali capital yesterday, police said, in an attack claimed by the Islamist militants of al Shabaab.

Protestors march against Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Dominic Reuter)

Sanders backers revolt on raucous opening day at US Democratic convention

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Supporters of Bernie Sanders disrupted the first day of the Democratic convention yesterday, repeatedly chanting and booing mentions of Hillary Clinton’s name as the party’s hopes for a show of unity dissolved into frequent chaos.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: