Nelson Mandela’s EX-Wife Winnie Loses Legal Bid Over Home Inheritance

Fredrick Ngugi April 08, 2016
Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela Mandela. Source (

Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela has lost a legal bid to own the former President’s home in the rural village of Qunu, South Africa.

Madikizela, who was married to the former South African president for 38 years, has been challenging Mandela’s will, in which he bequeathed his rural home to his family following his death in 2013.

Winnie claims that she acquired the property when Mandela was detained during political struggle and therefore she is the rightful owner according to customary law.

She had filed a case requesting the court to declare her the rightful owner of the home in Qunu village, Eastern Cape Province. However the court in Mthatha has dismissed the case asserting that Madikizela Mandela has no claim to the home.

Speaking after the ruling, Mandela’s grandson Nkosi Ziwelivelile said that, “the family is grateful that this saga has now come to a close”. He further requested Madikizela to make peace with the judgment and desist from any further actions.

President Mandela’s long-time lawyer and executioner of his estate Mr. George Bizo said it is Mandela who had acquired the property in Eastern Cape, his home province, and not his ex-wife.

Who is Winnie Mandela?

Winnie Madikizela Mandela was born in September 1936 in Bizana, Pondoland, South Africa. She is a graduate of the University of South Africa and has held several government positions on top of being the first lady.

She married former South African president Nelson Mandela in 1958 until they divorced in 1996. They had two children Zenani Mandela and Zindiwa Mandela. Currently, Madikizela is an incumbent member of parliament in South Africa. She was elected on an ANC ticket in 2009, the party headed by the incumbent President Jacob Zuma.

South Africa under Jacob Zuma

Before he was elected President of South Africa in 2009, Jacob Zuma served as vice president during president Thabo Mbeki’s rule from 1999 to 2005. He returned in 2007 to defeat his former boss Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma, who is now serving his second term in office, has been battling numerous challenges, surviving serious scandals involving misappropriation of public funds, rape allegations and arms purchases.

Currently, President Zuma is embroiled in a serious legal battle in which the Constitutional Court found him guilty of violating the constitution in the way he handled a long-running corruption case involving misappropriation of public funds to upgrade his rural presidential palace in Nkandla.

Although he has promised to comply with the court’s order to refund the money, President Zuma has remained defiant against calls for his resignation. South Africa’s opposition party DA (Democratic Alliance) has vowed to use street protests to put pressure on Zuma after its impeachment motion against the President was rejected.

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: June 19, 2018


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