Nelson Mandela Leaves $4.1 Million Estate, Hopes Family Stays Unified


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"Reading wills are always occasions charged with emotion."

This reply came from Deputy Constitutional Court head, Dikgang Moseneke, when queried about the recent review of Nelson Mandela’s own will to friends and family members.

The man who spent his life in selfless service continued conferring his possessions onto those he loved after his passing - in the form of his $4.1 million estate. According to Moseneke, the mood was generally good among his relatives, all of whom were reportedly present for the reading. Family members, schools, former staff, and the ruling African National Congress each learned they would acquire a generous inheritance from Mandela on Monday.

When the former South African president passed away last year, he left behind an estate that included homes in Johannesburg, Eastern Cape, Qunu, and Mthatha as well as royalties from his writing.

While his wife, Graca, was left half the estate, it is reported that she will likely relinquish her rights to it in exchange for other assets and four properties in Mozambique. With respect to friends, workers, and educational institutions, Mandela left about $4,500 for personal staff members like his loyal aide, Zelda la Grange, around $8,900 for various schools he attended, and roughly equivalent sums for scholarships and grants. Also receiving part of his royalties may be the African National Congress, with the aim of spreading information regarding party policies and principles - especially reconciliation.

The children of Mandela have disagreed in times past regarding who heads the family or who should gain from his investments. Some of them have even already appropriated the name of the anti-apartheid hero to sell wine, clothing, artwork, social network ventures, and reality television shows.

Even so, they and some of his grandchildren each received $300,000 and the estate is to be split among trusts for the benefit of his more than 30 descendants. However, the spiritual priorities that guided Mandela’s life mission did not depart with him in December. In fact, they may have been best clarified when he wrote of his hopes for the Houghton home in which he died after 95 years spent bravely enriching humanity:

"It is my wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela family in order to maintain its unity long after my death."

In the midst of his monetary bounty and the branding of his image, let us hope that that for which Mr. Mandela actually stood endures - and that his true "will" is carried out by those who benefited from his generosity.

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