Mandela family feud over his money

Makaziwe Mandela
Makaziwe Mandela

Various newspaper reports suggest that Mandela’s heirs are fighting tooth and nail over the world-famous terrorist’s estate. One family friend even described the environment as “toxic”. 

Apparently the Mandelas aim to kick Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, out of the mansion in Houghton she had been sharing with her late husband. She was flatly told to leave the house once the famous Mandela had died.

Mandela’s  eldest daughter, Makaziwe, who is married to a Ghanian, is often not on speaking terms with Machel. According to reports, Makaziwe has also “verbally abused staff and repeatedly insisted she alone will determine how to divide the spoils of Mandela’s estate”.

Using her father’s name, Makaziwe Mandela has climbed the social ladder in South Africa’s black power politics. According to Wikipedia, her biography reads as follows:

Pumla Makaziwe “Maki” Mandela-Amuah (born 1954) is the daughter of Nelson Mandela and his first wife Evelyn Mase. She was named after her older sister, born in 1947, who died aged just nine months. Of the four children born to Nelson and Evelyn Mandela, Makaziwe is the only one still living. She is married to Dr. Isaac Amuah, who is of Ghanaian origin.

She received her secondary education at Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa before going to the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. In 1993, she earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.

She has held senior posts at the University of the Witwatersrand and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and now heads the Industrial Development Group (IDG), with interests in mining and petroleum.

As if the hostility of Makaziwe was not enough, Graça Machel is said to have suffered verbal abuse from Mandela’s grandson Ndaba Mandela who  “he even tried to attack her physically but was restrained from doing so after the intervention of household staff”.

Machel is supposed to leave the luxurious Houghton home for a lesser abode in the Johannesburg suburb of Bryanston. Mandela family members suspect her of “having spent all Mandela’s money” although they have no proof.

Mandela’s will has not been read yet, but legal battles over the spoils are expected to ensue. The first salvo was fired by his daughters Zenani and Makaziwe even prior to his death when they tried to have the directors of two companies owned by the Mandela Trust removed. George Bizos, Tokyo Sexwale, Bally Chuene and Eastern Cape Judge President Themba Sangoni were sued in a failed attempt to remove them.

The Mandela daughters eventually gave up on their case and agreed to pay the costs of the proceedings, prompting the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to issue the following statement on behalf of the directors:

“This ill-considered and misguided application had the effect of causing reputational harm not only to the respondents as directors and trustees but also to the trust and the image of the founder, Mr Nelson Mandela, himself.”