Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is contesting the will of the late anti-apartheid hero in a bid to claim the country estate where he is buried.

Relatives of the South African political icon have been bickering over his estate since his death in December (13), and Mandela's second wife is now insisting ownership of his country home should pass to her family.

Madikizela-Mandela, who married the civil rights activist in 1958 and divorced him in 1996, claims the property in Qunu should belong to her and her children because she bought it in 1989, during her then husband's imprisonment on Robben Island.

Her lawyer has addressed her claim in a letter to South Africa's Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

Madikizela-Mandela was left nothing in her ex-husband's will and his $4.1 million (£2.4 million) estate is to be split between his family, the African National Congress party, former staff and a number of schools.

Mandela was laid to rest in Qunu in December with celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker and British royal Charles, Prince of Wales in attendance.