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Nelson Mandela’s Will

When Nelson Mandela – ‘Madiba’ to his supporters and followers all over the world – passed away on 5th December 2013, aged 95, the world went into mourning. A great man had died, and we can only hope that his legacy of peace, forgiveness, and love will continue now that he is no longer here.

However, that is not the only legacy that Mandela left behind. Details of his will have now been made public, and it seems as though his estate was worth over £2.5 million at the time of his death. That’s about 46 million rand.

Will this cause problems within Mandela’s family? Some experts claim that it will, that this amount of money will lead to in-fighting and feuds that will tarnish the great man’s name. Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke was at the will reading, and he could feel the tension in the room as the will was read out. Mandela left his estate to his family, and also to his former schools, as well as the African National Congress (ANC).

Mandela was married three times. Since he was still married to his third wife, Graca Machel, at the time of his death, she is entitled to half of his estate (this is the rule under South African marital law). However, she declined this offer, and chose instead to have the four homes that she and Mandela owned in Mozambique. Winnie Mandela, famous in her own right, was left nothing at all.

Nelson Mandela had a large family, with over 30 children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Each of them was named in the will, and each received a substantial sum of money, with his children becoming the beneficiaries of £184,000 each.

Mandela was explicit in his will that he wanted his family to be united after his death – he left his houses and properties to them so that they could all be near to one another, and continue to live and love as a family. Whether this will be the case remains to be seen. Already locks have been changed, and some family members have been excluded from various homes. It seems, perhaps, trivial to us, the outsiders, who don’t understand, but it also seems hopeless. If the family of the great peacemaker Nelson Mandela can’t get along now that he has gone, what chance have the rest of us?

We’ll just have to try, won’t we?

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