Jean-Jacques Cornish

Winnie Mandela challenges Madiba’s will

Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela is challenging her late husband’s will.

She wants rights to Mandela’s tribal home in Qunu which he bought when they were married.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer Mvuyo Notyesi written to co-executor of the former president’s will Dikgang Moseneke arguing that AbaThembu tribal custom dictates that the rights to the property go to Madikizela-Mandela and her descendants.

The lawyerssays this is applicable irrespective of whether the wife was divorced or not.

Notyesi says it’s only in this home that the children and grandchildren of Madikizela-Mandela can conduct their own customs and tradition.

He says supporting affidavits will be filed from AbaThembu elders, and King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo among others.

He maintains his approach is not an attack on Mandela’s will, but an assertion of customary and traditional rights.

Moseneke has acknowledged receipt of the letter and says the claim will be discussed tomorrow (Thursday).

Madikizela-Mandela, who was the former statesman’s second wife, for 38 years, was left out of Mandela’s will, which was released in February following his death in December last year.

Mandela wrote in his will that the Qunu property should be used by his family in perpetuity in order to preserve the unity of the Mandela family.


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.