Mandla Mandela sends short condolence message after Winnie's death

Nelson Mandela's eldest grandson Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, has sent a brief condolence message to the family of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela following her death.

Madikizela-Mandela died in Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg on Monday after a long illness, her family confirmed.

She was 81 years old. 

Mandla and Madikizela-Mandela have endured a fractious relationship over the last few years, which revolved around a dispute over Mandela's Qunu homestead.

Read: Madikizela-Mandela dies with Qunu land ownership not fully settled

In a very short message on Tuesday, Mandla, as head of the Mandela Royal House, said: "We wish to express our condolences on the passing of 'Mam Winnie' Winifred Nomzamo Madikizela.

"South Africa mourns the passing of a stalwart and veteran of the struggle for liberation.

"We wish the children, grandchildren and family strength and solace in this hour of loss. May her soul rest in peace."

The battle for homestead ended in January 2018 after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that the land should go to the former president's family, headed by Mandla and Graça Machel, as indicated in his last will and testament.

Madikizela-Mandela had filed for rights to the home in the Eastern Cape High Court in 2016. Her claim was eventually dismissed.

Mandla said he was happy to close the chapter on the drawn-out saga, following the ruling.

In 2013, Madikizela-Mandela had declared Nelson's eldest daughter, Makaziwe, the head of the Mandela family following his death, reportedly angering first grandson Mandla.

As first grandson, Mandla also had rights to the property by customary law, leading to a public fallout which included claims of a change in locks at the residence.

On Wednesday, Mandla sent out a follow up statement, saying: "Thank you for your support as we mourn the loss of the Mother of our Nation, a struggle veteran and a stalwart of our revolution."

Meanwhile, Nelson's eldest grandchild, Ndileka Mandela told News24 she was still too shocked to provide comment at the time of publication.

Winnie's funeral will be held on April 14.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a follow up quote from Mandla Mandela on Wednesday.

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