Nelson Mandela sent a message from the grave to his former wife of 38 years on Monday, leaving her completely out of his $4.1 million will, it was announced.
Executor Dikgang Moseneke read the bad news, at least as far as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is concerned, to members of Mandela’s family. Moseneke said he is not aware of any challenges to the wishes of the legendary South African anti-apartheid leader, who passed away in December at age 95.
“It went well,” Moseneke said at a press conference in Johannesburg. “There were clarifications sought from time to time.”
Mandela gave $4,500 each to nine staff members, including his personal cook, Xoliswa Ndoyiya.
“It shows me that he has been respecting me and he loved me for who I am,” Ndoyiya said. “I am one of these people who served him for many years.”
Nelson Mandela and Winnie met in 1957 and were married one year later. They separated before Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994 and the divorce was finalized two years later. They had two daughters together.
The 77-year-old Winnie, famously known as “Mother of the Nation,” is a strong activist in her own right. She was often tortured and imprisoned for her own anti-apartheid views and passed on the message of her husband, who was in prison for most of their marriage.
In his will, Mandela said he hoped some of his grandchildren would live in his Johannesburg home, which would “also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela and Machel family in order to maintain its unity long after my death.”
“He certainly worked hard throughout his life whether he was in jail or out in order to gain the freedom of all of us in South Africa, to show to the world at large that power should not be exercised for personal benefit but for the benefit of all,” said George Bizos, one of the two other executors. “Many say that they are following in his footsteps: Either they don’t know the road that he followed or they sort of bluff themselves that they are following it.”