The Mandela legacy: How family of inspirational leader who preached peace are at war over his £10million fortune

Oh Lord. How far does the apple fall from the tree? A little early wouldn’t you say?


  • Nelson  Mandela died after being admitted to hospital
  • Former  leader believed to have amassed £10million fortune
  • Much of the  money has come from turning the Mandela name in to a brand
  • Mandela  merchandise includes wine, clothing and art works
  • Two of his  three daughters have ‘launched legal battles over trust funds’

By  Suzannah Hills

He was a celebrated symbol of peace and  democracy the world over.

But in the last years of his life, Nelson  Mandela’s own family has been at war, bickering between themselves over his many  millions.

And in the wake of the anti-apartheid  leader’s death at 95 today, it is feared  his surviving family will be plunged in to deep rifts over who stands to gain  his fortune.

Mandela was married three times and fathered  six children – only three of whom, his daughters Makaziwe, Zenani ‘Zeni’ and  Zindziswa, are still alive.

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Makaziwe Mandela
Zenani Mandela pictured with her father Nelson

Bitter dispute: Makaziwe Mandela, above, and her  sister  Zenani, below with Nelson Mandela, are locked in a legal wrangle  with two of  their father’s oldest friends over a £1million trust fund  set up by the former  South African president in 2005

'Lost trust': Nelson Mandela is said to have put £1million of his money in a trust fund to stop his family arguing over it‘Lost trust’: Nelson Mandela is said to have put  £1million of his money in a trust fund to stop his family arguing over  it

Legal rows: Nelson Mandela, centre, is surrounded by his grandchildren - many of whom supported a legal bid to gain control of a Mandela art merchandise company - at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape, on his 90th birthday Legal rows: Nelson Mandela, centre, is surrounded by his  grandchildren – many of whom supported a legal bid to gain control of a Mandela  art merchandise company – at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape, on his 90th  birthday

His daughter Makaziwe, from his first  marriage, and Zenani, from his second marriage, have reportedly already become  embroiled in a legal battle earlier this year over the control of a £1million  trust fund.

Mr Mandela’s third daughter, Zindzi, is not  involved in the court action, the Star of South Africa reported.

The money was placed in the fund by Mr  Mandela in 2005 to be distributed to his daughters only in the event of hardship  as he wanted them to forge a career of their own rather than live off his  money.

He is said to have set up around 27 such  funds over the years after ‘losing trust’ in his children with the money  intended to last generations for ‘specific circumstances’ and not general  use.

But Makaziwe and Zanani are demanding access  to the fund and have begun legal action against the trust’s two directors;  84-year-old lawyer George Bizos, who defended Mandela in the 1963 Rivonia Trial,  and 60-year-old Tokyo Sexwale who was a prisoner alongside Mandela on Robben  Island.

George Bizos pictured representing Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie at a trial in 1991
Tokyo Sexwale
 Legal action: Two of Mandela’s daughters are  suing for  control of the trust, which is under the control of lawyer  George Bizos  (pictured in 1991, left) and Tokyo Sexwale, right
Nelson Mandela with his daughter Princess Zenani Dlamini, centre, and her daughters Zaziwe Manaway holding baby Ziphokazi Manaway, left, and Zamaswazi Dlamini holding baby Zamakhosi Obiri, right, last yearFamily affair: Nelson Mandela with his daughter Princess  Zenani Dlamini,  centre, and her daughters Zaziwe Manaway, pictured left holding  baby  Ziphokazi Manaway, and Zamaswazi Dlamini pictured right holding baby  Zamakhosi Obiri last year. Zaziwe appeared in the reality TV show ‘Being Mandela’ earlier this year 

Supported by almost all of Mr Mandela’s  grandchildren, Makaziwe and Zenani allege that the trust was intended for them  and that Mr Bizos and Mr Sexwale ‘hijacked’ it.

Makaziwe and Zenani have also launched a  legal battle against the same two men and another lawyer Bally Chuene who are  all directors of companies whose main purpose was to channel funds from the sale  of  Mandela’s handprints.

The two daughters claim that Bizos, Sexwale  and Chuene were never appointed by Mandela as major shareholders or directors.  Bizos claims the allegations are completely false.

It is understood that Mandela has accumulated  a fortune of more than £10million from his many autobiographies, intellectual  work and after turning his family name in to a brand – a move his family have  been more than happy to take advantage of.

The family is active in more than 110 trading  companies, according to records compiled by Beeld newspaper.

Famous name: Swati Dlamini, left, and Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, will star in reality show 'Being Mandela'Famous name: Swati Dlamini, left, and Zaziwe  Dlamini-Manaway, star in reality show ‘Being Mandela’

Trade name: Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe, pictured left with United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa at a Pretoria hospital to visit Mandela on Monday, runs the House of Mandela wine company Trade name: Nelson Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe, pictured  left with United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa at a Pretoria  hospital to visit Mandela on Monday, runs the House of Mandela wine company 

His daughter Makaziwe has founded the House  of Mandela wine label and is reportedly an active director in 16 other  companies, although she insists some directorships have lapsed.

Addressing claims that the Mandela family are  exploiting their name, Makaziwe has been quoted as saying: ‘It’s our name  anyway. Why should we apologise for our name?

‘I’m in the wine industry. There are families  who’ve been in the wine industry for 500 years and no one says they are cashing  in on their name.

‘Every child in this family who wants to use  the Mandela name has a right to do, so as long as they do so with honour and  integrity and upholding the values of my father.’

Meanwhile, many of his grandchildren control  other franchise companies or products.

He has 17 grandchildren and a growing number  of great-grandchildren – several of whom have been accused of trying to make  money off the back of their family ties with the famous leader.

Nelson Mandela married three times, fathering  six children, only three of whom are alive today.

Mandela married his first wife Evelyn Ntoko  Mase in 1944 but they divorced 13 years later.

The couple had two sons, Madiba ‘Thembi’  Thembekile, who died in 1969, and Makgatho Mandela who died in  2005.

They had a daughter named Makaziwe ‘Maki’  Mandela who died a few months after being born in 1947 and named their second  daughter in her honour.

He married his second wife Winnie  Madikizela-Mandela in 1957 and they divorced in 1996.

They had two daughters, Zenani ‘Zeni’ and  Zindziswa ‘Zindzi’ Mandela-Hlongwane.

Mandela remarried on his 80th birthday in  1998 to Graça Machel who he was still married to at the time of his death.

He has 17 grandchildren – the oldest born in  1965 and the youngest in 1992 – and a growing number of  great-grandchildren.

Two of his granddaughters – Zenani’s two  daughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini who are both in their 30s –  appeared in a reality TV show called ‘Being Mandela’.

While the 94-year-old former South African  president does not appear in the show, his second wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela  – ‘Big Mommy’ to her grandchildren – has a central role.

The sisters, along with two brothers, also  launched a fashion line, called ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ in honour of their  grandfather’s autobiography.

Many family members have also become  embroiled in scandals – with his grandson Mandla Mandela being accused of bigamy  when he wed French teenager Anais Grimaud while still apparently married to his  first wife.

The pair then later split when the couple’s  child was alleged to have been fathered by one of his brothers.

Mandla is the oldest son of Nelson’s late son  Makgatho.

He was born in 1974, followed by Ndaba  (1983), Mbusu (1991) and Andile (1993). It is not known which brother was  involved with his wife.

Mandla has also been accused in the past of  trying to sell the TV coverage rights to his grandfather’s funeral for £225,000.

Family members have also accused Mandla of  wanting to evict a cousin from her home near Johannesburg in order to turn it  into a tourist attraction. Mandela denied the allegations.

As well as financial rifts and court battles,  Mandela’s family has also been struck by many tragedies over the  years.

His son, Makgatho Mandela died of AIDS in  2005 and Mandela’s great-granddaughter, 13-year-old Zenani Mandela, was killed  in a car crash caused by a driver travelling at twice the 80km/h speed limit on  a motorway in South Africa in 2010.

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