Winnie Demands Mandela Rural Qunu Home
The ex-wife of South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela has demanded his village home for her children, potentially triggering the first legal dispute since his death.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyers said she was asserting her “customary rights” by demanding the house.
Mr Mandela’s estate was provisionally valued at 46m rand ($4.3m; £2.5m) following his death in December.
The thrice-married Mr Mandela divorced Mrs Madikizela-Mandela in 1996.
The couple had two daughters, Zinzi and Zenani.
Mr 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.
His 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, the ex-president 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 Mrs Madikizela-Mandela.
In the letter, seen by the BBC, the lawyers said Mrs 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 Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as their common and parental home,” it said.