*Nelson Mandela’s family could be increased by two, if claims from two women are to be believed.
Michael Katz, a lawyer for the executors of the anti-apartheid leader’s estate, confirmed that he received an attorney’s letter citing the women’s claims, and that he would discuss the matter with the executors. The executors revealed details of the will last week.
“They made the claim that they are descendants of Madiba,” Katz told the Associated Press. “They indicated that this wasn’t a monetary claim.”
The women requesting recognition as Mandela’s daughters are Onica Mothoa and Mpho Pule. Mothoa explained to the Star, a South African newspaper, that although she doesn’t care about Mandela’s inheritance, she wants to be acknowledged and has taken a DNA test in hopes of proving her claim.
“I know the Mandela family have always believed that I was being opportunistic because I wanted a share in the inheritance. That’s not true. I just want them to acknowledge that Mandela is my father,” Mothoa shared with the Star. “No amount of millions can buy the identity of a person. It is very important even for my children, as well as my grandchildren, to know who they are.”
A 2010 article in the Mail and Guardian newspaper reported that Pule died at age 63 from a stroke in 2009 after trying in vain to contact Mandela. Like Pule, Mothoa, tried to contact Mandela but the effort was in vain as she tried to see Mandela when he was sick last year. Pule’s efforts to meet Mandela started in 1998 after her grandmother told her that Mandela was her father, according to the Mail and Guardian.
Although Mothoa and Pule’s claims are new, they may not come as a surprise. Allegations surrounding Mandela being unfaithful to his first wife, Evelyn Mase, have ben around for years.
Despite telling the AP that Mandela had six children, and three died, the Nelson Mandela Foundation doesn’t mention Mothoa and Pule in a genealogy. The women were reportedly born during Mandela’s marriage to Mase. The couple, which had four children, divorced in 1958. Prior to her death in 2004, Mase had accused Mandela of adultery.
Mandela’s estate is worth roughly $4.1 million, executors of Mandela’s estate said last week, adding that the estate will be shared between his family, members of his staff, schools that he attended and the African National Congress.