Mandela’s will to be made public

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JOHANNESBURG – The executors of Nelson Mandela’s estate are to reveal his last will and testament on Monday, amid a very public family feud over who will carry on the family name.

Two months after the death of the 95-year-old South African statesman, lawyers will reveal who will gain control of his multi-million dollar assets.

Mandela left behind his wife Graca Machel, ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and more than 30 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Even before his death the children and grandchildren have frequently clashed over who leads the family and who should benefit from his investments.

Several have already put the Mandela brand behind commercial projects including wine, clothing, artwork and a social network.

While Mandela lay ailing in hospital, his daughters Zindzi and Zenani initiated a lawsuit to remove long-time Mandela friends George Bizos and Tokyo Sexwale as trustees of the family investment holdings.

The lawyer who represented the daughters, Ismail Ayob, used to manage many of the family affairs until he fell out with Mandela and was sacked.

He allegedly sold fake artwork in Mandela’s name and pocketed millions of dollars.

But there has also been a political tussle over who should take up his mantle.

Eldest daughter Makaziwe reportedly had the locks changed on Mandela’s rural home after his death to exclude his eldest grandson Mandla, the head of Mandela’s clan.

Makaziwe and Mandla both lay claim to lead the family following the death of the anti-apartheid hero in December.

Makaziwe is backed by his second wife Winnie and Mandla has the support for the royal family of his tribe.

Many hope that the reading of his will might put pay to some of the arguments.

The document will be summarised at the peace icon’s foundation in Johannesburg.

Its three executors are Bizos, who represented Mandela at the trial that jailed him for 27 years; Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy head of the country’s Constitutional Court who spent years with the icon imprisoned on Robben Island; and Themba Sangoni the head judge in Mandela’s birth province the Eastern Cape.

Mandela became South Africa’s first black president after the first all-race elections in 1994 and his politics of forgiveness and reconciliation made him a global peace icon.

He died December 5 and was buried 10 days later in his rural boyhood home of Qunu.(AFP)

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