black women

Winnie Mandela challenges Nelson’s family estate

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winnie-mandelApril V. Taylor

The Daily Dispatch has obtained an exclusive copy of a letter submitted on behalf of Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in which she demands rights to his Qunu home. The letter is addressed deputy judge president Dikgang Monseneke, who is one of the executors of Mandela’s estate, and is dates July 18, which happens to be Mandela’s birthday. Mandela’s will states, “The Qunu property should be used by my family in perpetuity in order to preserve the unity of the Mandela family.”

The letter submitted on Winnie’s behalf cites the fact that the Qunu home was first purchased while she and Mandela were still married and that AbaThembu custom allows for the house to be passed to Winnie and her descendants. Attorney Mvuyo Notyesi points out in the letter that each of the children born from Mandela’s three different marriages have rights to the common homes that each of the wives shared with Mandela during their marriages. Notyesi also points out that the custom is applicable whether the wives were divorced or not.

Notyesi also points out that the property was actually obtained by Winnie while Mandela was in prison in 1989. Winnie does not want her actions to be viewed as an attack on Mandela’s will but rather an assertion of her customary and traditional rights. AbaThembu elders are expected to file supporting affidavits regarding the custom. Moseneke has acknowledged receipt of the letter and reports that the claim will be discussed at an executors’ meeting on Thursday.

Winnie and Mandela were married for 38 years with much of that time spent with him in prison. Despite their long marriage, Winnie was left out of Mandela’s will. The couple’s two daughters Zenani Mandela Dlamini and Zindzi are both reported to have received R3-million outside of the will.