JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African court ruled Thursday that Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has no rights to his rural home.
The court in Mthatha town dismissed Madikizela-Mandela’s claim to the Qunu property, where the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 is buried.
The couple divorced in 1996 and Mandela, who died in 2013 aged 95, did not mention Madikizela-Mandela in his will. Mandela bequeathed his estate, worth roughly $4.1 million, to his third wife Graca Machel, family, staff members, schools that he attended and the African National Congress, the movement that fought white minority rule and now governs South Africa.
Madikizela-Mandela challenged the will, saying she acquired the Qunu property when Mandela was jailed during white-minority rule and was entitled to the home in line with local custom.
“The family is grateful that this saga has now come to a close,” Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, a grandson of Mandela, said in a statement on behalf of his family.
He said he hoped Madikizela-Mandela will make “peace with the judgment and desist from any further actions” that might be seen as disrespectful of Mandela’s wishes.
Mandela’s longtime lawyer and an executioner of his estate, George Bizos, said Mandela, not his ex-wife, had acquired the property in Eastern Cape, his home province.
“They were not on speaking terms at the time, while the house was built,” the human rights lawyer said in an interview with eNCA, a South African media outlet.
Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer in the case, Mvuzo Notyesi, was not immediately available to comment.
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