Mandela takes the shine off Winnie's goldmine

NELSON MANDELA is challenging the right of his former wife Winnie to pocket the profits she is making from their former home in Soweto.

Since Winnie Madikizela-Mandela opened the humble residence she once shared with her ex-husband to the public three months ago, it has proved a nice little earner.

Up to 1,000 tourists a day pay 5 rand (60p) a head to visit the little house in Orlando West, while Mrs Mandela's sister runs a souvenir shop in the garage which sells soil from the garden in little bottles at a bargain 10 rands.

The only problem is that Mrs Mandela does not own the house which she has turned into a museum. And now, according to the Johannesburg Star newspaper, President Mandela wants her evicted from the house which he as the rightful owner has donated to the Soweto Heritage Trust, run by the township, tourism officials and big business. "The President has said we should evict her because he gave the house to the people," said an embarrassed Sydney Phuti, the trust's deputy chairman. "It's a sensitive matter. We do not want to get an interdict to remove her from the house. We are trying to negotiate."

Mrs Mandela has not lived in the Orlando West house for years.

She prefers her luxury house in Diepkloof, Soweto's answer to Beverly Hills, which was built by an American benefactor. But the plaque now bolted to the outside wall of her old home reads "The Winnie Mandela and Family Museum" - making no mention of her ex- husband from whom she was divorced two years ago.

Nthato Motlana, one of South Africa's most successful businessmen, has been called in to mediate.

But Mrs Mandela's lawyer, Ishmael Semenya - who represented her in the recent public hearings into her alleged involvement in the murder of Soweto activists in the 1980s - suggested Mrs Mandela will fight any move to take away her control of the museum. He claimed Mrs Mandela lodged papers to have the house changed into her name back in 1985.

An ugly legal battle looks likely as the house was, in fact, only registered in the President's name at the beginning of last year.

He had not owned the house previously because under apartheid blacks were denied the right to possess freeholds.

The house plays central role in the Mandela saga. The couple lived there in the late 1950s and it was from there that Mr Mandela went underground and Mrs Mandela, a decade later, was banished from Soweto to the internal exile in the Free State.

But the house is also tainted by scandal. In 1988, angry Soweto residents burnt the house down in disgust at the violent activities of Mrs Mandela's notorious group of bodyguards, the so-called Mandela United Football Team. It has since been rebuilt.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat