Recognition sought for women claimed to be Mandela’s daughters

Lawyers say families not claiming funds from estate of former SA leader

The former South African president Nelson Mandela in 2008: the two women were born when he was married to his first wife Evelyn Mase. Photograph: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)

The former South African president Nelson Mandela in 2008: the two women were born when he was married to his first wife Evelyn Mase. Photograph: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)

Tue, Feb 11, 2014, 01:00


Lawyers for two South Africans who allege the late Nelson Mandela was their father are seeking to be recognised by the Nobel Peace prize winner’s estate.

In a television show aired in South Africa on Sunday evening, Michael Katz, one of two attorneys appointed by the executors of Mr Mandela’s estate, confirmed he had been approached by the family representatives of the two women. The Carte Blanche programme said legal representatives acting for the families of Onica Mothoa and Mpho Pule had approached the master of the High Court to halt the distribution of funds from his estate in terms of Mr Mandela’s will.

The anti-apartheid icon died on December 5th aged 95. His will, made public last week, revealed his estate was worth an estimated €3 million.

Mr Katz maintained the women, who were born when Mr Mandela was married to his first wife Evelyn Mase, were not claiming any money from the estate, only official recognition.

A legal spokesperson for the women’s families told Carte Blanche they were considering bringing a legal application asking for Mr Mandela’s DNA to be tested.

For the past few years there have been various reports around the veracity of the allegations made by both women, the first of which arose in 2003, but to date no evidence has been produced publicly to prove their claim.

Ms Mothoa (66) was born to Sophie Majeni in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, in 1947. She claims her mother met Mr Mandela while a domestic worker in South Africa’s political capital.

Ms Pule, born in 1945 in Bloemfontein in the Free State Province, had claimed she only learned the identity of her father in 1998 from her grandmother (85), as her mother died in 1992 without revealing her story. She spent almost 12 years trying to meet the man she believed was her father, but she died last year. Her legal fight is being carried on by her surviving relatives.

Last Friday the Star newspaper reported that Ms Mothoa said she had been refused access to see Mr Mandela during when he was in hospital last June in Pretoria. She also tried to see him at his Johannesburg home, and travelled to his rural home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province in the hope of being acknowledged by him as a daughter. However she could not gain access to see him.

She went on to say she had completed a DNA test to prove Mr Mandela was her father.

“I know the Mandela family has always believed that I was being opportunistic because I wanted a share in the inheritance,” she told the Star. “That is not true. I just want them to acknowledge that Mandela is my father.”