Mandela’s will splits $4M estate among family, staff, ANC

Revelation of will could set off more squabbling over Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s financial legacy

Some of the estate belonging to Nelson Mandela, shown in 1990, will be split among three trusts, including a family trust to provide for his more than 30 descendants.
Michel Clement, Daniel Janin/AFP/Getty Images

Former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela left his $4.1 million estate to family members, the ruling African National Congress, former staffers and several local schools, according to a reading of his will on Monday.

The will is expected to set off another round of squabbling among members of his large and factious family.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said he was not aware of any wrangle over the provisional estate, although when the will was read to family members earlier on Monday, the mood was "charged with emotion."

Mandela's family has battled with his foundation and the ANC over rights to his name. 

"I am not aware of any contest of any type, and the will has been duly lodged and accepted," Moseneke said.

Mandela's third wife, Graca Machel, is entitled to half the estate under South African marital law but could waive her claims and opt for specified assets, including properties in her native Mozambique. She has not made a decision on whether to waive her rights, Moseneke said.

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Some of the estate would be split among three trusts set up by Mandela, including a family trust to provide for his more than 30 descendants, including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Each of Mandela's children and some of his grandchildren received $300,000. His upscale Johannesburg house, where he spent most of his life after being freed from apartheid prisons, will be home to his deceased son Makgatho's children.

The ANC, which was Mandela's political home, could receive a portion of his royalties from books and other commercial outlets using his name and image. 

Mandela staffers, including longtime personal assistant Zelda Le Grange, also shared in the fortune, with 50,000 rand each, or about $4,460.

"It really makes me happy. I didn't think Tata was thinking of leaving something for me," said Mandela's personal chef Xoliswa Ndoyiya, referring to Mandela using the Xhosa word for "father."

Mandela, who died in December at the age of 95, left an estate that also included a modest dwelling in his rural Eastern Cape home province and royalties from books, including his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom."

More visibly, his legacy includes a potent political and moral brand that some of his grandchildren and great grandchildren have already used to market everything from clothing to reality TV. 

Some of his grandchildren have started a line of caps and sweatshirts that feature his image under the brand Long Walk to Freedom.

Two of his U.S.-based granddaughters have starred in a reality television show called "Being Mandela." Such aggressive marketing — as well as reports of fighting among family members over his money — have fueled the impression in South Africa that some family members have exploited their world-famous relative.

Al Jazeera and Reuters 

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