The battle on who should own the Nelson Mandela brand has intensified as two of the former South African president’s daughters, Zenani and Makaziwe, sue their father for the rights to his artworks and control of his millions.
According to a newspaper report, the two sisters intend to fight an April 2004 Johannesburg High Court order which gave Mandela the right to instruct Ismail Ayob, his then lawyer, to stop managing his financial, personal and legal affairs.
The court order barred Ayob from selling any of Mandela’s artworks.
The legal wrangle has raised concerns and some analysts have called the sisters’ action “unAfrican”.
“It has very negative implications for the name of Nelson Mandela because he’s not only a father to the daughters that are taking him to court, he is a global icon. The message it sends out the world is that the legacy of Nelson Mandela is being rubbished while he is still alive,” said Prince Mashele.
Mandela’s current lawyer, Bally Chuene has filed an affidavit in response to a lawsuit brought by the sisters, who are represented by Ayob. The story headlines have upset many Johannesburg residents who have called the court action selfish and said it’s motivated by greed.
In another court battle the two sisters are trying to push Mandela’s long time friend and advocate, George Bizos and other advisors out of companies connected to Mandela.
Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Mandela allege amongst other things that Bizos and other associates were not appointed by the former president as major shareholders or directors, and have applied for a legal order to have them removed.
If the application is granted, Makaziwe and Zenani will be the only two directors of the companies set up to manage proceeds from the sale of his image.
Analyst Prince Mashele says the ongoing legal wrangles will worsen when Nelson Mandela dies
“It’s very clear, they have already given out the signal that when he (Nelson Mandela) is gone, they will fight over his estate, that’s the message that comes out of this. I mean, they have the audacity to fight over his estate while he is still alive, what more when he is gone,” asked Mashele.
Nelson Mandela is old and frail and has been admitted to hospital three times in four months. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 is a global symbol of tolerance and the struggle for equality.
Presented by Adam Justice