Will Nelson Mandela's Heirs Tarnish His Legacy Through Greed And Fighting?
December 18, 2013
Nelson Mandela left behind an unparalleled legacy of peace, dignity, and selflessness. If early reports are accurate, some of his children and grandchildren don't exactly subscribe to the same value system. When you think of the man who spent 27 years in jail to bring down apartheid, do you think of clothing lines, reality TV shows, or a wine label? Probably not. But those are a few of the ways that Mandela's heirs have used his name to profit.
So perhaps it was no surprise that his children and grandchildren began fighting, even before the South African champion of equal rights passed. Mandela's eldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, was accused of shady maneuvering, hoping to make his gravesite into a profitable tourist attraction. This summer, the New York Times reported that Mandla was sued by other Mandela family members because he felt, as the eldest grandchild, he should decide where Nelson Mandela should be laid to rest.
The problem? Mandla's dream of a tourist site built around the body of his grandfather wasn't what Nelson Mandela wanted. In 1996, Mandela created a hand-written will saying he wanted to be buried in his ancestral home, the remote village of Qunu. Three of his children had died before him and were already buried there ... that is, they were until Mandla decided to uproot them and move them to another village, Mvezo, so he could create a Mandela family burial site. Other family members successfully sued Mandla, forcing the bodies to be returned to Qunu, so that Mandela's wishes could be fulfilled.
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