Nelson Mandela’s Family Battles Over Control of His Estate

Posted on Feb 14, 2014

The family of legendary former South African President Nelson Mandela continues its battle over who will be the primary beneficiary of the late leader’s estate. Both Mandela’s oldest grandson and his eldest daughter are seeking to win control over his legacy.

The grandson, Mandla Mandela, was nominated by his grandfather to be a traditional chief in his home province. The daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, is the daughter of Mandela’s first wife, Evelyn.

In an attempt to gain control of a family trust that contains Mandela’s money, Makaziwe and other family members have taken legal action against one of his lawyers. In addition, they say they will challenge Mandela’s will, arguing that it was drafted at a time when he was beginning to lose mental capacity.

In addition, Makaziwe reportedly had the locks changed at Mandela’s house in Qunu, where his remains are buried in order to prevent Mandla from accessing it.

Mandla has stated publicly that he sees his role as “maintaining the legacy” of Mandela. Before Mandela’s death, Mandla secretly had three of Mandela’s children exhumed from the family burial plot and moved to Mvezo. Makaziwe brought suit against Mandla at that time, arguing that he wanted to have Mandela buried alongside the three exhumed children in Mvezo so that he could profit from the visitors that would come to the gravesite.

In response, Mandla issued a public statement that since Makaziwe is a woman, she should “focus on her husband’s family” rather than “sow division and destruction” within the Mandela family.

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