Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has demanded his village home for her children, potentially triggering the first legal dispute since former South African president’s death.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyers said she was asserting her “customary rights” by demanding the house.
Nelson Mandela’s estate was provisionally valued at 46 million rand ($4.3 million) following his death in December.
The thrice-married Nelson Mandela divorced Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1996.
The couple had two daughters, Zinzi and Zenani.
Nelson Mandela has one surviving child, Makaziwe, from his first marriage to the late Evelyn Mase.
He was married to Graca Machel, the wife of Mozambique’s late President Samora Machel, at the time of his death.
The thrice-married Nelson Mandela divorced Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1996 (photo Getty Images)
Nelson Mandela’s large family – which includes grandchildren and great grandchildren – was hit by legal disputes over his wealth and burial site as he battled a recurring lung infection in the months leading to his death at the age of 95.
In his will, Nelson Mandela said: “The Qunu property should be used by my family in perpetuity in order to preserve the unity of the Mandela family.”
The executor of the will, South Africa’s Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, has not yet commented on the letter sent to him by Mvuzo Notyesi Incorporated, the legal firm representing Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
In the letter, the lawyers said Winnie Madikizela-Mandela obtained the house in Qunu while he was in jail for fighting white minority rule.
“The view we hold is that the aforesaid property belongs to the generation of Mr. Nelson Mandela and Mrs. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as their common and parental home,” it said.
“It is only in this home that the children and grandchildren of Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela can conduct their own customs and tradition and the house cannot be given to the sole custody of an individual nor can it be generally given to the custody of any person other than the children of Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela and/or her grandchildren,” it added.
The letter said this did not mean that Nelson Mandela’s other children would be denied access to the property.
“However, control and supervision of the property should be properly determined according to custom and tradition,” the lawyers said.
There was an outpouring of grief across the world following Nelson Mandela’s death at the age of 95.
He was revered for battling against apartheid in South Africa and had spent 27 years in jail before being released in 1990 and becoming the country’s first democratically elected president in 1994.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was prominent at services to honor the former president after his death.
He did not leave anything for her in his will, which was unveiled in February.
At the time, executors said Graca Machel was likely to waive her claims to the estate, although she was entitled to half of it.
Nelson Mandela also had a home in Houghton, an upmarket suburb in South Africa’s main city, Johannesburg.
His will said it should be used by the family of Makgatho, his deceased son from his marriage to Evelyn Mase.
“It is my wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela family in order to maintain its unity long after my death,” Nelson Mandela wrote.
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Muammar Gaddafi’s will was published on a loyalist website, Seven Day News, as the debate continued over what to do with his body.
Colonel Gaddafi’s will appeared to be a short one and is said to be one of three copies given to relatives, one of whom was killed, one arrested and one managed to escape the fighting in Sirte, where he was killed.
The former Libyan dictator said in his will: “I call on my supporters to continue the resistance, and fight any foreign aggressor against Libya, today, tomorrow and always.”
Muammar Gaddafi apparently made it clear he had decided to die in Libya rather than flee, telling his supporters: “Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal secure and stable life.”
“We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honour.”
Gaddafi’s dead body is currently in a refrigerated vegetable warehouse in Misurata where crowds, who suffered some of the worst attacks by dictator’s forces, are queuing to catch site of the dead dictator
The dictator asked to be buried, clothed as he died, with his body unwashed, in a graveyard in his home town of Sirte, not far from where he was killed as he fled the city on Thursday.
Gaddafi’s dead body is currently in a refrigerated vegetable warehouse in Misurata where crowds, who suffered some of the worst attacks by dictator’s forces, are queuing to catch site of the dead dictator.
Muammar Gaddafi also called for his family to be treated “well” adding that the Libyan people should protect their “heroes.”
Reports said that Gaddafi’s body will be handed over to his remaining relatives after tribal leaders backed calls for his corpse to be given a traditional Muslim burial.
Tribal honour underpins much of the country’s public life and the demand will prove to be a big test for the country’s new government because the Gaddafi tribe has benefited enormously from the 42-year dictatorship of the Libyan strongman.
The Libyan new regime will not want an obvious shrine in Sirte, although the National Transitional Council (NTC) indicated Muammar Gaddafi’s surviving relatives would have a say in what happened to his body.
An NTC official, Ahmed Jibril, said:
“The decision has been taken to hand him over to his extended family, because none of his immediate family is present at this moment.”
“The NTC are in consultation with his family. It is for his family to decide where Gaddafi will be buried, in consultation with the NTC.”
The new Libyan authorities had originally wanted the body to be buried in an unmarked grave in the desert. However, they ran into resistance from the Masrata militias who had captured him and who did not want the responsibility for burying the dead leader.
Muammar Gaddafi’s widow Saifa had issued a statement demanding that the body is turned over to his family.