The former South African president, 94, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Pretoria where he has spent the last 21 days being treated for a lung infection.
In January 1996, while still serving as president, Mr Mandela reportedly drew up a rudimentary will in which he asked for a simple burial close to the village where he grew up on the Eastern cape.
He said that while he would be happy with a state memorial service in Pretoria he wanted to buried in the family plot with just a simple headstone to mark the site of his grave.
The South African Mail and Guardian reported a long-standing family friend as saying: ‘He never gave death a great deal of thought, but he never wanted anything fancy’.
Despite the fact that sales of Mr Mandela’s book Long Walk To Freedom, and artworks bearing his name, had earned him millions in royalties his will was reportedly presented on a single sheet of A4 paper.
According to South Africa’s national broadcaster SABC, the question of Mr Mandela’s final resting place has this week sparked a bitter family feud.
Mr Mandela’s oldest daughter, Makaziwe, and 15 other family members have pressed a court application to get Mr Mandela’s grandson to return the bodies of three of Mr Mandela’s children to their original graves in Qunu.
The grandson, Mandla Mandela, acknowledges having reburied the three bodies 13 miles away in the Mvezo village, where he plans to create a Mandela shrine, hotel and football stadium.
Mandla Mandela has until tomorrow to respond to the court filing, reports said.
Nelson Mandela built his retirement home in Qunu and was living there until his repeated hospital stays which started at the end of last year.
The anti-apartheid leader attended the burial of his son at the family plot in Qunu in 2005, and it was widely expected that the leader himself will be buried there.
But his grandson exhumed the bodies of Mr Mandela’s three children and moved them to nearby Mvezo, which is the former president’s birthplace and the grandson holds authority as chief.
Eldest daughter Makaziwe and other Mandela family members want the family bodies returned to their original graves in Qunu, according to the reports.
Today U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are due to meet with family members but they will not visit Mr Mandela in hospital.
‘Out of deference to Nelson Mandela’s peace and comfort and the family’s wishes, they will not be visiting the hospital,’ the White House added in a statement.
Yesterday Mr Mandela ex-wife said his condition had improved.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told reporters: ‘I’m not a doctor but I can say that from what he was a few days ago there is great improvement’.
Ms Madikizela-Mandela pleaded with the media to ‘understand the sensitivities and the feeling of the family’