JOHANNESBURG – Nelson Mandela’s estate, worth roughly $4.1 million, will be shared between his family, members of his staff, schools that he attended and the African National Congress, the movement that fought white rule and now governs South Africa, the will’s executors said Monday.
Mandela’s third wife, Graca Machel, is the main beneficiary of the will because their marriage was “in community of property” and she therefore has the right to half his estate, as long as she claims it within 90 days, said executor Dikgang Moseneke, who is also deputy chief justice of the Constitutional Court. Graca Machel’s first husband, President Samora Machel of Mozambique, died in a plane crash in 1986.
Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was not mentioned in the will. The couple divorced in 1996.
Moseneke said he is not aware of any challenges to the provisions of the will. Mandela, a prisoner during white racist rule who became South Africa’s first black president, died Dec. 5 at age 95.
Moseneke outlined a “provisional inventory” of 46 million South African rand, or $4.1 million, but cautioned the amount could change as the will is studied more carefully. The document was drawn up in 2004, and was amended in 2005 and 2008. Two other executors are George Bizos, a human rights lawyer and longtime friend of Mandela, and Themba Sangoni, a chief judge from Eastern Cape province, Mandela’s birthplace.
Earlier Monday, the will was read in its entirety to members of Mandela’s family.
“It went well,” Moseneke said at a news conference. “There were clarifications sought from time to time.”
Last year, while Mandela’s health was in decline, his family was involved in a number of high-profile disputes.
Some members sought to dislodge Bizos and other directors of two companies whose proceeds are supposed to benefit the Mandela family. Separately, Mandla Mandela, a grandson of the anti-apartheid leader, fell out with family members because he had moved the remains of the patriarch’s three deceased children to a different gravesite. A court order forced him to return the remains to Qunu, where Nelson Mandela grew up and where he was buried Dec. 15.
In the will, Mandela said he had already given $300,000 to his three surviving children. He bequeathed amounts to his grandchildren ranging from $9,000 to $300,000, and the beneficiaries include Graca Machel’s two children with Samora Machel.
Mandela gave $4,500 each to nine staff members, including Xoliswa Ndoyiya, his personal cook.
“It shows me that he has been respecting me and he loved me for who I am,” Ndoyiya said at a press conference where the will was made public. “I am one of these people who served him for many years.”
Mandela instructed one of three trusts that carry his name to consider paying between 10 percent and 30 percent of royalties to the African National Congress to record or disseminate information on the party’s policies, including reconciliation. He left funds for scholarships and bursaries to the secondary school in Qunu, the University of Fort Hare, the University of the Witwatersrand, also known as Wits, and Soweto’s Orlando West high school, whose students and teachers played a prominent role in the fight against white rule.
Prof. Adam Habib, the principal of Wits, said the university was humbled to receive $9,000 from Mandela, who was a student there in the 1940s. He said the endowment would be used to provide scholarships.
Mandela “emphasized the need to address inequality — one of the greatest threats to our young democracy,” Habib said.
A trust will administer Mandela’s Johannesburg home, which became a shrine during the last months of his life as well-wishers gathered outside its walls. Mandela said in his will that he hoped several of his grandchildren would live there, and that the house would “also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela and Machel family in order to maintain its unity long after my death.”
Bizos became emotional while talking about Mandela.
“He certainly worked hard throughout his life whether he was in jail or out in order to gain the freedom of all of us in South Africa to show to the world at large that power should not be exercised for personal benefit but for the benefit of all,” Bizos said to the press. “Many say that they are following in his footsteps: Either they don’t know the road that he followed, or they sort of bluff themselves that they are following it.”