Winnie loses battle for Mandela's rural home

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — A South African court on Friday struck down a long-running effort by late president Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to claim ownership of his former rural home.

The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal against a lower court's ruling that she was not the rightful owner of the property in his childhood village.

Mandela, the country's first democratic president, spent much of his early years in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province after being born nearby. He regularly returned to the village after his retirement and was buried there in 2013.

In his will, the anti-apartheid icon left the house to his family trust, but Madikizela-Mandela claimed it belonged to her under customary law because it was bought in 1989 while they were still married.

The couple were wed in 1956 and divorced in 1996.

Madikizela-Mandela had approached the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein to challenge the 2016 ruling by the Eastern Cape High Court that said she had no claim to the home.

“A reasonable person in (her) position... would have asserted a right to ownership of the property before the death of Mr Mandela,” said justice Jeremiah Shongwe, delivering the ruling.

Mandela was arrested in 1962 and spent 27 years in jail before becoming South Africa's first black president in the post-apartheid elections of 1994.

On his deathbed, he left his assets to family members, personal staff, schools and the ruling African National Congress party.

Mandela's will, which did not mention Madikizela-Mandela, said that he wanted the Qunu homestead to “be used by my family in perpetuity in order to preserve the unity of the Mandela family”.

Mandela married his third wife Graca Machel, the widow of Mozambique president Samora Machel, in 1998.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon