Friday, November 16, 2018

SA Nelson Mandela Died And Left Winnie Nothing From His Will.

February 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Money, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( People often romanticize the 38-year marriage of Nelson and Winnie Mandela.  The thought of a strong woman waiting 27 years for her husband’s release sends shivers down the spine.

But sometimes those shivers are met with a dose of hard, cold reality.  One overwhelming truth is that Nelson Mandela died without leaving Winnie any piece of his $4.1 million dollar fortune.

Executor Dikgang Moseneke brought the news to the public.  There are no challenges to the will thus far.   The will was created 10 years ago, and redone in 2005 and 2008.  There is no word on how it was modified each time.

A large percentage of Mandela’s wealth was left to Graca Machel, his widow and third wife.  She received half of his estate.  Nelson Mandela also gave $300,000 to his three children, and each grandchild received an amount ranging from between $9,000 and $300,000 apiece.   He also left money to his staff members, but not to the woman he was married to forNelsonMandela2014andWinnie nearly 40 years.

Nelson and Winnie met in 1957 and married in 1958.  They were together for all of Mandela’s 27-year prison sentence, and separated after he became president of South Africa in 1994.  The divorce was finalized two years later.  Some say that Winnie’s controversial disposition would have made it nearly impossible for Nelson to have become president of a nation that was trying to heal from racial divides of the past.

Winnie paid her dues.  She was known as the “Mother of the Nation” and suffered torture and imprisonment for standing up against apartheid.  She also helped to lead the campaign that  led to her husband being released.  Without Winnie, there is no Nelson Mandela:  There is no movement.  There is no presidency.  There is no wealth.  Instead, he is just another inmate who spends the rest of his life in prison.  Maybe that gives us all something to think about.

Financial Lovemaking lessons from this story:

1)      While none of us knows exactly why Nelson Mandela and Winnie parted ways in such a cold and dramatic fashion, there is no denying that she remained married to him for 38 years while he was incarcerated for the majority of that time.  Many women would have remarried in such a hopeless situation, but only the strongest woman can endure this kind of agony and remain committed to the man she loves.  This fact alone is enough to argue that Mandela should never have removed Winnie from the will, no matter what she did.  Bad things she did later down the road cannot negate the good things she did along the way.

2)      This kind of thing happens regularly:  A spouse stands with their partner through the tough times, and then when things get better, they part ways.   A lot of Hollywood celebs get divorced after they become famous and have other options.  This can put a strain on a relationship.  While we hate to admit it, dating is really like a job market:  If you’re accustomed to being paid $50,000 per year and suddenly have the chance to earn $200,000, you may stick with your employer out of loyalty.  However, human nature dictates that your tolerance level for strains in your current relationship is going to be adjusted by the fact that you know you have other options.  So, the things you might have put up with in the past might make you want to leave if you have a better place to go anyway.  It happens all the time.

3)      This move likely damages the legacy of Nelson Mandela, whether we like it or not.  He probably should have considered this when writing his will and at least left Winnie a nominal portion of his estate as a thank you for so many years of service and support to both he and his causes.  Many believe that, without Winnie Mandela’s strength, Nelson would never have been able to get out of prison and probably wouldn’t have had a chance to become president.

4)      There are several reports that Winnie Mandela had other lovers during the time that Nelson was away at prison.  This isn’t surprising, since 27 years is a very long and unnatural time to go without sleeping with anyone. Also, Winnie Mandela readily admits that she and Nelson never lived together before he went to prison and that he wasn’t even there for the births of their children.  So, there may have been divides in the marriage that existed long before the divorce.  But this again begs the question: If she was so detached from her husband, why didn’t Winnie divorce him when he went away to prison?

5)      An easy counter-argument would be to say that because Winnie and Nelson were divorced and had new partners, they didn’t owe each other anything.  This is a possibility, especially if she walked away from the marriage with a substantial cut of the family’s assets.  But at the same time, you could say that their political power built over 40 years was like a business they’d created together, which Winnie maintained while Nelson was incarcerated.  So, it’s difficult to defend the decision of any man to allow a woman to stand by him while he’s down and out and then to leave as soon as he is back on his feet.  If he owes her nothing, then maybe he should have divorced her while he was in prison instead of costing her the best years of her life.  She was loyal to Nelson when it cost her personally, so it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t have stood by her when it cost him politically.  But of course, this situation is up for interpretation; maybe it’s just every man for himself.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit



4 Responses to “SA Nelson Mandela Died And Left Winnie Nothing From His Will.”
  1. Richard Giroux says:

    Winnie cheated on him while he was in jail and after he was released. Of course he left her nothing.

  2. get some business says:

    Spoken like true hypocrites. Liberals told Nelson to drop Winnie for the Presidency and he complied.

  3. Papacool says:

    I give Winnie her due on staying by her husband’s side during his imprisonment and after the Presidential election process. Being in agreement with Jazzie, the woman got her recognition and as in all good things, someone whispered in her ear that she should go solo. Go Motown here with me for just a second. The Supremes were great together, but Diana had to go solo. The Jackson 5 were dynamic, but Michael went on his own. The Temptations were the standard, but they eventually were broken up. Then leaving Motown behind, you had the Beatles, and damn if they did not stay together. The point being made is that what God puts together, let no man rend it apart.

    Everyone has a ego and an ideal of what success means to them. This is part of our freewill initiative as human beings and will be a part of way of life as long as we live. God and family have taken a back seat in our ways of thinking on modern day levels and in the end we wonder why things go left? One does not have to have a level of thinking like Einstein to understand that we cause 99 percent of the problems we encounter by trying to do things our way. God’s will is not questioned or invited to be a part of the process. We just need to not buy into the hype of why Nelson left her out, but rather understand what was achieved by the time they spent together as one. Winnie will have more opportunities given to her just based on her association with Nelson period. So I can not feel sorry for what happened, but I am praying for the sister and the whole family to do what is right from this point on. In America, we have our version of the Mandela’s being spotlighted in the King family.

    They are in the process of fragmenting their family’s foundation in arguing about selling off their Father’s Nobel Peace Prize and his personal Bible. After making and equally splitting 32 million dollars on his papers, how much more is needed? Some things are not meant to be discussed in public and these two examples validate my statement. Peace out, Papacool.

  4. Jazzie Dixson says:

    You raise some very interesting points here Dr. Watkins. True, Winnie worked to bring apartheid to the international stage which ultimately resulted in the transformation of a nation. Nelson certainly laid the groundwork and sacrificed his freedom to see the movement progress. However, as you stated, we don’t know what she left the marriage with. Further, it didn’t just benefit Nelson for Winnie to stand by him; it benefited Winnie. She became internationally known as well and achieved her own level of “rock star status.” If I take this out of the context of wealth and notoriety, of course my position is he owes her nothing. A divorced spouse from ten years earlier–when we have both moved on–is not entitled to anything; whatever thank yous would deserve compensation surely came much earlier. Good job in raising the question.

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