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winnie madikizela mandela
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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Thousands of South Africans have joined dozens of world leaders for the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
The service is being held in front of a vociferous crowd in the FNB stadium in Johannesburg.
President Barack Obama said Nelson Mandela was a “giant of history”, adding: “The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.”
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president died last Thursday, aged 95.
South Africa is observing a series of commemorations leading up to the funeral on Sunday.
The memorial service is one of the biggest gatherings of international dignitaries in recent years.
There had been fears people would be turned away, but the heavy rain left areas of the 95,000 capacity stadium empty.
Introducing the proceedings, the master of ceremonies, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that Nelson Mandela’s “long walk is over… and he can finally rest”.
The first speaker, friend and fellow Robben Island inmate Andrew Mlangeni, said Neslon Mandela had “created hope when there was none”.
Barack Obama delivered his address, carried on the White House web site, to huge cheers. He said: “It is hard to eulogize any man… how much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation towards justice.”
President Barack Obama said Nelson Mandela was a “giant of history”
He said Nelson Mandela had taught the world the power of action and the power of ideas, and that it had taken a man like Mandela to free not only the prisoner but also the jailer.
Barack Obama said: “We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. While I will always fall short of Madiba [Nelson Mandela’s clan name], he makes me want to be a better man.”
On his way to the podium, Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro, an unprecedented gesture between the leaders of two nations that have been at loggerheads for more than half a century.
In his address, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said there was “sorrow for a mighty loss and celebration of a mighty life”.
Ban Ki-moon said: “South Africa has lost a hero, it has lost a father… He was one of our greatest teachers. He taught by example. He sacrificed so much and was willing to give up all he had for freedom and democracy.”
Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, arrived at the stadium to huge cheers as she was shown on the big screen.
There were cheers too of “Winnie! Winnie!” for ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who hugged and kissed Graca Machel.
However, there were boos for current President Jacob Zuma.
He will make the keynote address. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee are also making speeches.
Raul Castro will also speak, reflecting the fact that under his brother, Fidel, Cuba was a staunch critic of apartheid, and Nelson Mandela had expressed gratitude for that support.
The memorial service, which had been due to start at 11:00, will last about four hours, according to the official programme.
Correspondents say that the heavy rain, security and transport issues and the fact that Tuesday was not declared a national holiday have kept the numbers down.
Nelson Mandela’s body will lie in state in Pretoria on the following three days and a state funeral takes place on Sunday in his home village of Qunu in Eastern Cape province.
More than 100 current or former heads of state or government will attend the funeral or the national memorial, according to the South African government.
Among those not attending the memorial events will be Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who cited high travel and security costs.
However, there will be suspicion that he wishes to avoid the potential for anti-Israeli protests.
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Nelson Mandela is to be accorded a state funeral on Sunday, December 15, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, died on Thursday, December 5, aged 95.
Hundreds are gathered outside Nelson Mandela’s home in Johannesburg’s northern suburb of Houghton, where he died.
They have been sharing memories of the former leader, recounting how they drew inspiration from his life.
A stage has been erected near the house, from where priests have led the crowd in prayers.
One of his grandsons. Mbuso Mandela, laid wreaths in his grandfather’s memory.
President Jacob Zuma visited the house in the early afternoon to pay his respects.
Nelson Mandela is to be accorded a state funeral on Sunday, December 15
At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Jacob Zuma outlined a week of events to mourn the former president.
- Sunday, December 8, will be an official day of prayer and reflection with special religious services
- On Tuesday, December 10, a service of national mourning will be held at a 95,000-seater stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg
- Nelson Mandela’s body will lie in state from Wednesday to Friday in the capital, Pretoria
Next Sunday’s funeral will be held in the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where Nelson Mandela grew up. South African Airways has announced that it will provide extra flights to Qunu for mourners.
Hundreds have attended an interfaith remembrance service outside Cape Town’s City Hall. The Johannesburg stock exchange suspended operations for five minutes on Friday as a mark of respect.
The White House has announced that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be travelling to South Africa next week to pay their respects and take part in memorial events.
Flags are flying at half-mast on government buildings in Washington DC, Paris and across South Africa. The European Union and world football body FIFA have also ordered their flags to be lowered.
Parliament in Pretoria is expected to hold a special joint session to reflect on Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.
Nelson Mandela died on Thursday, December 5, shortly before 21:00 local time.
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Nelson Mandela is still unable to speak but uses facial expressions to communicate, the former South African president’s ex-wife has told a local newspaper.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said Nelson Mandela, 95, remained “quite ill” but she dismissed speculation that he was on a life support machine.
In September, Nelson Mandela returned home after nearly three months in hospital with a recurring lung infection.
The government has said his condition is critical and sometimes unstable.
He is no longer talking “because of all the tubes that are in his mouth to clear [fluid from] the lungs”, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told South Africa’s Sunday Independent newspaper.
Nelson Mandela is still unable to speak but uses facial expressions to communicate
“He can’t actually articulate anything… He communicates with the face, you see. But the doctors have told us they hope to recover his voice.”
“I have heard this nonsense that he is on life support – he is not,” Winnie Madikizela-Mandela added.
“It is difficult for him. He remains very sensitive to any germs, so he has to be kept literally sterile. The bedroom there is like an ICU [intensive care unit] ward.”
Nelson Mandela has been receiving intensive care at his home in a suburb of Johannesburg, which has been specially adapted for his care.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is revered around the world for leading the fight against white minority rule and preaching reconciliation with the white community despite being imprisoned for 27 years.
Correspondents say the presidency has been keen to reassure not just the Mandela family but the nation that he is no more vulnerable at home than in hospital. It has called for Nelson Mandela’s privacy and dignity to be respected.
President Barack Obama has landed in South Africa, the second stop in his three-country tour of Africa, amid vigils for Nelson Mandela.
Barack Obama said earlier he did not expect to see former President Nelson Mandela, who is critically ill in hospital.
Leaving Senegal, Barack Obama told reporters on board Air Force One: “I don’t need a photo op.”
Meanwhile, Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said the former leader had made “a great improvement” in recent days, but was “still unwell”.
Correspondents say security is tight in the streets near Mediclinic Heart Hospital in the capital, Pretoria, where the 94-year old is being treated for a lung infection.
Ministers, politicians, Nelson Mandela’s physician and family members were among those visiting the ex-leader on Friday, his 21st day in hospital.
Barack Obama’s plane landed at a military airbase near Pretoria on Friday evening. He has meetings scheduled in the capital on Saturday morning.
But Barack Obama said earlier he did not expect to see the ailing ex-leader during his visit to South Africa.
“I don’t need a photo op,” the president said aboard Air Force One after leaving Senegal.
President Barack Obama has landed in South Africa amid vigils for Nelson Mandela
“The last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive at a time when the family is concerned with Nelson Mandela’s condition.”
He went on to say: “I think the main message we’ll want to deliver is not directly to him, but to his family – is simply profound gratitude for his leadership all these years, and that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with him, his family and his country.”
Barack Obama met Nelson Mandela in 2005 when he was still a US senator. Both men became the first black presidents of their nations and have received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The US president has described Nelson Mandela as a “hero for the world”, whose “legacy will linger on through the ages”, and who had inspired his own activism as a student.
Earlier on Friday, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told reporters outside Nelson Mandela’s former home in Soweto: “I’m not a doctor but I can say that from what he was a few days ago there is great improvement, but clinically he is still unwell.”
She also thanked domestic and international media for their coverage, but added that some of the reports had caused the family distress.
“We had no idea of the love for us out there,” she said.
“There may be problems here and there when some of you get carried away and talk about our father in the past tense,” she said.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela added: “If sometimes we sound bitter, it is because we are dealing with a difficult situation.”
Earlier this week, Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter criticized the international media camped outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, calling them “vultures”.
People in South Africa are anxious about Nelson Mandela’s health but also want to express their pride in the man many consider the father of the nation.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) said it would hold vigils each day that the former leader remained in hospital, and the distinctive black, green and gold colors of the party are much in evidence.
But the party denied it was exploiting the occasion to canvas for votes ahead of next year’s elections.
“We love our ANC regalia and we have every right to wish Madiba well,” party spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.
Meanwhile, a court in the Eastern Cape has granted an application brought by the Mandela family to exhume three of his children and two other relatives and rebury them in the family cemetery in Qunu, which is where the former leader wants to be buried, their lawyers say.