A last will and testament by former Pres. Nelson Mandela published this week offered some unpleasant surprises for children of the national leader and especially for his second wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who was not listed among the beneficiaries.
The family of South Africa’s first black president, who died two months ago aged 95, met this week behind closed doors at his foundation in Johannesburg to hear the reading of the will, which divides up an estate estimated at $4.1 million.
An executor, Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy chief justice of South Africa’s constitutional court, said the reading of the will to the family had been "charged with emotion" but no one had yet contested it. "There were clarifications sought from time to time," he added.
Perhaps the most unexpected turn of events, was the omission of Madikizela-Mandela, his wife of 38 years during the struggle against racial apartheid. They divorced in 1996 but became close again towards the end of his life and, along with his third wife, Graça Machel, she was at his bedside when he died.
Over 165 comments were posted in the online South Africa paper News24 speculating on the curious testament. "It could still end up in court," said a News24 source. "The trusts could be dissolved and the funds in them would go to the family members."
Mandela married three times and his numerous children and grandchildren have frequently clashed over who leads the family and who should benefit from his lucrative "brand". Last year, two of his daughters went to court to dispute control over the millions contained in one of the trusts but eventually dropped the action.
Winnie’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren with Mandela were all left generous sums, although the money for Bambatha, Zondwa, Zwelabo and Zoleka Mandela has to be paid to Graça to be paid out at her discretion.
Meanwhile, the third wife, Graça Machel, will inherit their cars, the jewelery in her possession and the works of art of her choosing at the Houghton home she had shared with him. Graca’s children from her former marriage to the late Mozambican president Samora Machel – Josina and Malengane - and six of Samora Machel’s children from his previous marriage are also beneficiaries.
Madiba also made a bequest to all the schools he had attended in his lifetime, as well as to the Qunu Secondary School and to Orlando West High School for the "role its pupils and teachers played in the struggle for liberation".
The home in Houghton, Johannesburg, where Mandela died on Dec. 5 will be used by children of his late son Makgatho. "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."