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Madikizela-Mandela, Winnie 1934–

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela 1934

South African political activist

Established Ties With ANC

Part of My Soul Went with Him

A Striking Symbol of Defiance

Banned and Imprisoned

Launched Social Programs

Legal Difficulties Tarnished Reputation

No Regrets and an Abundance of Hope

Legal Difficulties and Political Fights Continued

On the March Again

Selected writings

Sources

As the former wife of African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela has become widely recognized throughout the world as a symbol for the political goals and ideals of the black people of South Africa. She has, at various times, been either highly revered or severely criticized by her fellow citizens and has suffered numerous punishments for her protests against apartheidSouth Africas system of enforced racial inequality that denies political rights to the countrys black majority. In the years since 1958, Winnie Mandela was detained, imprisoned, harassed, and threatened by government authorities; she was held in detention for more than two years and was banneddenied certain personal freedoms and forced to live in an appointed locationfor almost 27 years. She coped with a long separation from her husband, whose life sentence in prison for engaging in antigovernment activities with the ANC was eventually lifted in 1990.

Winnie Mandela was born in rural Pondoland in 1934 and named Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela. Her mother, a domestic science teacher and religious fundamentalist, died when Winnie was only nine years old, leaving nine children, the youngest of which was three months old. Winnies father, Columbine, was a history teacher and later served as minister of agriculture in the Transkei, a self-governing territory of South Africa. Winnie attended Bizana and Shawbury schools in the Transkei and graduated from Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work of Johannesburg in 1955. She subsequently took a position at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, becoming the first black medical social worker in South Africa.

Established Ties With ANC

The year Mandela moved to Johannesburg to attend Jan Hofmeyer was also a time of increased antigovernment activity for the ANC. Nelson Mandela and others led the nationwide Defiance Campaign against government apartheid regulations, and many people, especially in the urban areas, were politicized through the campaign. When Mandela went to Johannesburg, her interest in the ANCs operations led her to establish connections in the antiapartheid movement; she befriended various members of the ANC, including Adelaide Tsukudu, the wife-to-be of the ANCs president in exile, Oliver Tambo. In 1957 friends introduced Winnie to Nelson Mandela, a lawyer and member of the ANC

At a Glance

Born Nkosikazi Nobandle Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela in 1934, in Bizana, Pondoland, Tran-skei, South Africa; daughter of Columbine Mandikizela (a history teacher and government official) and a domestic science teacher; married Nelson Mandela (an attorney and political activist), June 1958 (divorced 1998); children: Zindziswa, Zenani Dlamini. Education: Graduated from Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work, 1955.

Career: Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto, medical social worker, beginning 1955; member of Federation of South African Women and other womens political groups; joined Womens League of African National Congress (ANC), 1957, became head of local branch; participated in numerous demonstrations protesting South Africas apartheid policy of racial segregation; named a banned person by South African authorities, 1962; acted as spokesperson and carried on political activity on Nelson Mandelas behalf, 1964-90; named head of social-welfare department of ANC, 1990; named minister of arts, culture, science and technology, 1994-95; named member of parliament and president of the ANC Womens league, 1995-.

Awards: Robert F. Kennedy Humanitarian Award, 1985; Third World Prize, 1985.

Addresses: Home Soweto, Transvaal, South Africa.

executive committee who was one of the accused in a treason trial taking place at that time. The pair began a courtship that was brief and rather unorthodox because of the time Nelson Mandela had to devote to his court case and law practice. Nevertheless, on June 14, 1958, Nelson received permission to go to the Transkei where he and Winnie were married.

1958 also marked the beginning of Winnie Mandelas encounters with the security policein September, she and thousands of other women were arrested for demonstrating against the governments pass laws, which required blacks to carry identification documents showing their assigned residence and employment at all times. She was detained for two weeks and then released. At the time of her arrest, Mandela was a member of the national executive committee of the Federation of South African Women and chairperson of its Orlando branch and belonged to the national and provincial executive committees of the ANCs Womens League. She lost her job as a social worker at the hospital because of her arresta significant financial setback since she was the wage earner in the family.

In 1960, after police fired on a group of people protesting the pass laws in the small town of Sharpeville, nationwide and worldwide demonstrations against apartheid ensued, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. Thousands of people were subsequently detained and the ANC was outlawed. Although he had already been released on bail during the treason trial, Nelson Mandela and other defendants were detained for nearly five months.

Part of My Soul Went with Him

After a trial that lasted four and a half years, the court found the defendants in the treason case not guilty. The few months between March and December of 1961 would be the only timeuntil 1991that Nelson and Winnie and their two young girls would have any semblance of a family life. In December, after the ANC was outlawed, Nelson went underground, addressing meetings throughout the country and abroad with the purpose of establishing a military wing of the ANC. He was apprehended in 1962, however, and charged with inciting Africans to strike in a 1961 work stoppage and with illegally leaving the country. While serving a five-year sentence on these charges, he was found guilty of sabotage in another trial and was sentenced to life in prison in 1964.

Meanwhile, Winnie Mandela had her own run-ins with the government and was banned in 1962. Since her husbands trial was held in Pretoria, a city outside her restricted area, Winnie was required to obtain special permission to attend it. She and the other companions of the men on trial appeared at the courthouse in traditional tribal dress, hoping to inspire people and evoke a sense of militancy against the white government of South Africa. When the authorities outlawed the dress, Winnie, in a gesture typical of her defiance, chose to wear gold, green, and black, the colors of the outlawed ANC.

After the trial, Winnie Mandela was left to raise two children on her own without a source of income. Although she had visitation rights, she was not allowed any physical contact with her husband for the next 22 years. That is part of ones life one does not even want to remember I could only visit him once in six months, Winnie recounted to D. Michael Cheers in Ebony. We had to keep [a] link through letters and through visits when they were increased, she continued. At the end of [the prisoners] stay on Robben Island, we could visit them two times a month. And it would be a visit of two people at a given time. That helped a lot to keep the family ties and to sort of keep that link between him and the children. Before that, all they did was read about their father.

A Striking Symbol of Defiance

Mandela recounted her experiences as the wife of a jailed political dissident in her 1984 memoir, Part of My Soul Went with Him, which New York Times Book Review contributor Paula Giddings called not only a compelling account of political defiance but a moving love story as well. Recalling in the work the time when her husband was first imprisoned, Mandela explained, the difficult part was finding myself with a spotlight on me. I wasnt ready for that. A photogenic woman who is a striking symbol of defiance in her traditional dress, Mandela garnered international recognition as a spokesperson for the black cause in South Africa. She noted in Part of My Soul Went with Him that I had to think so carefully what I saidas [Nelsons] representative. I dont mean careful because of my banning orders but because of the responsibility.

With more stringent restrictions imposed on her by the government in 1965, Mandela was forced to leave a position she held with the Child Welfare Society because she could not travel outside of Orlando in Soweto. She remained banned, except for two weeks in 1970, until 1975. As documented in her memoir, Mandela did not understand why she was banned in 1962, since she had delivered only one inflammatory speech, and years later, she asked security branch head Johan Coetzee to explain. Coetzee pointed to the governments wariness of Mandela and told her: There is a saying in Afrikaans that if you have a field with a lot of pumpkins and you see a pig next to those pumpkins, you dont have to be told that the pig is going to eat those pumpkins.

On several occasions between 1962 and 1975 Mandela was charged with violating her banning orders. In 1967 she was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for failing to give her name and address to security police in Cape Town where she had been allowed to visit her husband at the prison on Robben Island. Her sentence was soon suspended, but in May of 1969, she and 21 others were detained under the Suppression of Communism Act, having been accused of promoting the aims of the outlawed ANC. Though the charges were withdrawn, Mandela was immediately redetained in 1970 on the same charges and placed in solitary confinement in Pretoria Central Prison under Section Six of the Terrorism Act.

Banned and Imprisoned

Mandela served 17 difficult months in detentionmost of it in solitary confinement. She described her imprisonment in Part of My Soul Went with Him: Those first few days are the worst in anyones lifethat uncertainty, that insecurity. The whole thing is calculated to destroy you. You are not in touch with anybody. And in those days all I had in the cell was a sanitary bucket, a plastic bottle which could contain only about three glasses of water, and a mug. The days and nights became so long I found I was talking to myself. Your body becomes sore, because you are not used to sleeping on cement. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of her detention, though, was the separation she endured from her daughters, who were sent to school in Swaziland, a kingdom of South Africa.

Upon Mandelas release in September of 1970, the government renewed her banning orders for five more years, only two weeks after they expired. She was also restricted to her home in Orlando at night and on weekends and public holidays and was prohibited from having any visitors at all, except her two daughters. Between 1970 and 1973 she was accused several times of violating her banning orders, but all of the convictions were set aside on appeal. In October of 1974, though, she was sentenced to six months in Kroonstad Prison for meeting with another banned person. Finally, after 13 years of being banned, she tasted freedom when the government did not renew her banning orders for a 10-month period.

During this time, Mandela helped organize the Black Womens Federation, and later, she helped establish the Black Parents Association to assist people with medical and legal problems that followed the actions of police during a 1976 Soweto riot. Mandelas freedom was brief, however, because in August, after the riots, she and thousands of others were apprehended under the Internal Security Act for their involvement in antigovernment activities. She was held until December of 1976 and, on the 28th, received new banning orders, which were eventually made more rigid: she was banished from her Orlando home to Phatakahle, a black township of about five thousand people located in a province called Orange Free State.

Launched Social Programs

Winnie Mandela was confined to the Brandfort area for eight years. During that time, because she had become a figure of international standing, Mandela received many foreign visitors at her isolated farm community. Through her contacts and training she helped the local black community establish a nursery school or creche, a soup kitchen for the school children, and a mobile health unit, and she initiated self-help projects that ranged from growing vegetables to knitting clothes to sewing school uniforms. While in Brandfort, she was charged innumerable times with violating her banning ordersshe entertained visitors frequently despite her restrictions and 24-hour police surveillance.

In August of 1985 Mandelas Brandfort house was firebombed, an act she blamed on the disgruntled government since, prior to that, she had defied her banning orders by returning to her home in Orlando. Faced with her refusal to return to Brandfort, the government amended her banning orders to allow her to stay anywhere in South Africa except in the Johannesburg and Roodeport magisterial districts. Mandela also ignored that order, and the police tried several times to forcibly remove her, but she always returned. Eventually, in February of 1986, the authorities provisionally withdrew their charges. Advised by her lawyers that her banning orders were invalid, Mandela began making speechesin one she allegedly advocated the use of violence to protest the governmentand soon the government officially lifted her restrictions.

Legal Difficulties Tarnished Reputation

Mandela moved out of her Orlando home and into a large, newly-built house in an exclusive area of Soweto. She soon became a controversial figure in Soweto, and in 1988 other antiapartheid groups took steps to distance themselves from Mandela. Much of the problem surrounded the so-called Mandela United Football Club, a group of young men who lived in Mandelas house and acted as her bodyguards. Many members of the club were implicated in robberies, assaults, and murders in the Soweto area, and the club was condemned by neighbors of Mandela, who accused the young men of intimidation and extortion.

The most serious development came when two members of the club were charged by police in the kidnapping and beating of three black youths and the kidnapping and murder of 14-year-old renegade Stompie Moeketsi, an extraordinary young leader whose 1, 500-member childrens army had opposed the tactics of oppressive groups like the football club for years. Mandela claimed that the charges were lies made up by the police and that Moeketsi had died of beatings and sexual abuse incurred at the Methodist church in which he had previously been hiding out.

Nevertheless, Mandelas bodyguards soon came under suspicion in two other murders, and South Africas two largest organizationsthe Congress of South African Trade Unions and the banned United Democratic Frontboth made formal statements in 1989 dissociating themselves from Mandela and her entourage. Embarrassed by the circumstances, even the ANC stepped up its pressure to have the football club dismantled, and after discussions with her husband, Mandela announced that the bodyguards would be removed from her home. By that point, however, Mandelas once lofty reputation in the eyes of her people had been somewhat tarnished.

No Regrets and an Abundance of Hope

Choosing to support his wife, Nelson Mandela, upon his release from prison on February 11, 1990, declared a deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife, and told Winnie, I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own, as quoted by Christopher S. Wren in the New York Times. With her reputation temporarily rehabilitated, Mandela was appointed head of the ANCs social-welfare department in August of 1990. Her legal troubles were far from over, however, and she was ordered to stand trial when the three surviving youths of the Soweto kidnapping testified in the trial of Jerry Richardsonwho was convicted of killing Moeketsithat Winnie Mandela took part in the beatings. At least I will be able to stand a proper trial, Mandela quoted as saying in Time, and clear my name properly.

The judge assigned to Mandelas ensuing court case, however, described her testimony as vague, evasive, equivocal, inconsistent, unconvincing and brazenly untruthful, and convicted her on the charge of accessory after the fact to the assaults; she was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison. Freed on bail, Mandela won a reprieve in July of 1991 when she was given permission to appeal her conviction. The result of Winnie Mandelas legal difficulties, surmised Wren, is a dented image for the ANC and potential setbacks in substantive discussion between the ANC and South Africas president, F. W. de Werk. Mr. Mandela said that the conviction would not directly affect negotiations, observed Wren, yet it is hard to see how he could trust the Government if his wife were in prison.

Despite the controversy surrounding Winnie Mandela, she continued to represent the persistence of South African blacks in their struggle to abolish apartheid. Newsweek reporter Joseph Contreras noted that Winnie Mandelas greatest contribution to her country may have been the encouragement she gave her husband during the long, lonely years before hope suddenly blossomed and celebrity exacted its price. Mandela herself wrote in Part of My Soul Went with Him, I knew when I married [Nelson Mandela] that I married the struggle, the liberation of my people. She expressed no regrets in a 1990 Ebony interview about her role in the decades-long effort to eradicate South Africas ruling government. In the end, she declared with unwavering hope, we shall attain our freedom at whatever cost.

Legal Difficulties and Political Fights Continued

Nelson Mandela, president of the ANC, announced his separation from his wife in April of 1992, almost a year after they actually had separated and after more than thirty years of marriage. After their many years apart while Mandela was imprisoned, Nelson and Winnie had developed in separate directions. To further add to her problems, she was still haunted by the conviction for the 1988 kidnapping and assault on the four Soweto youths. Mandela, still working on her appeal, but bowing under political pressure, resigned as head of the ANCs social-welfare department. Following in the wake of her resignation were multiple rumors about the loss of $130, 000 from the funds she had managed.

However, Mandela was forged in a violent cauldron and had no intention of quietly slipping into oblivion. While Nelson Mandela was in prison, she had fought and struggled to make sure his (and her) name was not forgotten. With her personality, the terrible injustices she was subjected to, and her sense of responsibility, she had emerged as a street fighterknown by the names of Teflon Queen of Africa and mother of the nation. When apartheid died, she took on the new black government headed by her estranged husband. Nokwanda Sithole writing in a 1994 Essence article says It is her constant use of strong words such as moron and her refusal to be diplomatic in favor of protecting political positions that cause even some of her supporters to question Winnies future ability to give up protest politics in favor of parliamentary procedures.

She was violently critical of the ANC leadership, lashing out publicly at talks going on between the ANC and South Africas White regime. When Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 shared with President F.W. deKlerk, Mandela led a rally in Soweto, calling the prize an insult. In spite of rumors of infidelity, her conviction for the problems in the 1980s, and her continued outspokenness about the new politics, Mandela retained her public appeal. In December of 1993, she was reelected to the head of the Womens League of the ANC by a vote of 392 out of 560 possible votes. Perhaps it is easiest to define her as a mass of contradictions and someone who learned how to succeed alone. Baleka Kgotsisile of the ANC Womens League who is an admirer of Mandela said of her that The problem with Winnie is that if you dont want to play her game by her rules, she walks away; she simply doesnt play.

Perhaps because of her visibility and outspokenness, or because of her apparent disregard for following procedures or rules, Mandela continued to be a target for police investigations. In 1995 police raided her luxurious home in Soweto looking for information on alleged kickbacks and influence peddling involved with her pet charity, the Coordinated Anti-Poverty Program. Mandela, who held a cabinet position at the time as minister for arts, culture, science and technology, was in West Africa in direct defiance of her husbands order. Torn between her immense popularity with the masses who felt she was being wrongly accused and the tremendous embarrassment President Nelson Mandela suffered almost daily from the public criticisms and continual alleged illegal activities of his wife, Nelson Mandela fired her from her Cabinet post in mid-1995.

In April of 1996 tensions reached a breaking point, and the Mandelas divorced. Winnie changed her name and added her maiden name to the Mandela becoming Madikizela-Mandela. True to her nature, she continued her march toward power. By late 1997 she was nominated as deputy of the ANC to take over in the wake of her former husbands leaving the office of president. However, she continued to strike out against the existing regime, criticizing the man who would become president and whose deputy she was aiming to beThabo Mbeki. She had made so many enemies in the hierarchy in her trip to power, that it is not surprising that her past continued to haunt her.

Madikizela-Mandela was called before South Africas Truth and Reconciliation Commission to defend the actions of her bodyguard squad during the 1980s. The Commission had been formed to find out the truth about the atrocities on both sides during the last years of apartheid. Although the commission called Madikizela-Mandela to a closed hearing, she refused, but throughout it all Madikizela-Mandela remained calm, unrepentant and adamant that the evidence presented were lies. The massive negative publicity cost her, however, and she ultimately removed her name from nomination for the deputy presidency position in December 1997.

On the March Again

It is hard to say what will stop Madikizela-Mandela. She suffered more setbacks and reversals during her career than seemed possible but still came out on top, earning her nickname of the Teflon Queen. She remained beloved and revered by the poorer masses of her country and was rated as one of the two most influential people of the century in her country in a survey conducted by Naspers Internet news service in 1999. She shared the honor with her ex-husband, Nelson Mandela. After her withdrawal from the election for the ANC presidency, she continued to be outspoken about Mbekis regime, clashing with him publicly. In one highly publicized incident, she appeared at one of his rallies and interrupted his speech, appearing on stage to the cheers of the crowd. When she stooped to kiss his cheek, he raised his hand to push her away, knocking the hat off her head and appearing to the crowd as if he had pushed her.

In 2001, at 67 years of age, Madikizela-Mandela still continued with her roller coaster ups and downs. Africa News Service noted, She may be held in low regard in white suburbia, and scorned by some of the black middle class as an embarrassment, but Madikizela-Mandela is a hero to a large number of people in disadvantaged communities. The article goes on to say that she maintained this status because she stills lived in the city while many of the other leaders have moved out to suburbia and because she was always there for them when they have problemsno matter how small. However, true to form, she was also arrested in late 2001 and charged with 85 counts of fraud and theft in relation to bank loans she allegedly secured for non-existent employees of the ANC Womens League. In mid-2002 she was still in trial over the issues and no legal decision had been made.

Selected writings

Part of My Soul Went with Him, edited by Anne Benjamin, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1984, Norton, 1985.

Sources

Books

Benson, Mary, Nelson Mandela: The Man and the Movement, Norton, 1986.

Contemporary Authors, Volume 125, Gale, 1989.

Periodicals

Africa News Service, August 9, 1999; June 18, 2001; November 1, 2001; July 11, 2002; July 17, 2002; July 18, 2002.

Chicago Tribune, October 16, 1983.

Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 1985.

Ebony, December 1985; May 1990.

Essence, April 1994.

Jet, April 19, 1993; November 15, 1993; December 13, 1993; December 27, 1993; August 29, 1994; May 1, 1995.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, October 26, 1997; November 26, 1997; December 3, 1997; March 28, 2002.

MacLeans, February 12, 1990; March 13, 1995.

Ms., November 1985; January 1987.

New Statesman, September 26, 1997.

Newsweek, December 16, 1985; December 30, 1985; April 29, 1991; May 27, 1991.

New York Times, August 18, 1985; February 17, 1989; September 25, 1989; February 18, 1990; April 17, 1991; May 14, 1991; May 15, 1991; May 19, 1991; July 17, 1991.

New York Times Book Review, December 8, 1985.

People, September 28, 1987; November 5, 2001.

The Economist, September 20, 1997; June 30, 2001.

The New Republic, April 8, 1996.

Time, February 25, 1982; October 1, 1990; February 25, 1991; May 27, 1991; May 18, 1992; June 8, 1992; May 5, 1997.

Washington Post, August 26, 1985; September 23, 1985; December 24, 1985; May 12, 1985; August 26, 1997; November 27, 1997; December 2, 1997; December 5, 1997; December 6, 1997; December 9, 1997; December 18, 1997.

Virginia Curtin Knight and Pat Donaldson

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Mandela, Winnie 1934–

Winnie Mandela 1934

South African political activist

At a Glance

Antiapartheid Activities Jeopardized Family Life

A Striking Symbol of Defiance

Banned and Imprisoned

Launched Social Programs

Legal Difficulties Tarnished Reputation

No Regrets and an Abundance of Hope

Selected writings

Sources

As the wife of African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela is widely recognized throughout the world as a symbol for the political goals and ideals of the black people of South Africa. She has, at various times, been either highly revered or severely criticized by her fellow citizens and has suffered numerous punishments for her protests against apartheidSouth Africas system of enforced racial inequality that denies political rights to the countrys black majority. In the years since 1958, Winnie Mandela has been detained, imprisoned, harassed, and threatened by government authorities; she was held in detention for more than two years and was banneddenied certain personal freedoms and forced to live in an appointed locationfor almost 27 years. She coped with a long separation from her husband, whose life sentence in prison for engaging in antigovernment activities with the ANC was eventually lifted in 1990. She also faced a 1991 conviction in a controversial kidnapping and assault case.

Winnie Mandela was born in rural Pondoland in 1934. Her mother, a domestic science teacher and religious fundamentalist, died when Winnie was only nine years old, leaving nine children, the youngest of which was three months old. Winnies father, Columbine, was a history teacher and later served as minister of agriculture in the Transkei, a self-governing territory of South Africa. Winnie attended Bizana and Shawbury schools in the Transkei and graduated from Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work of Johannesburg in 1955. She subsequently took a position at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, becoming the first black medical social worker in South Africa.

The year Winnie moved to Johannesburg to attend Jan Hofmeyer was also a time of increased antigovernment activity for the ANC. Nelson Mandela and others led the nationwide Defiance Campaign against government apartheid regulations, and many people, especially in the urban areas, were politicized through the campaign. When Winnie went to Johannesburg, her interest in the ANCs operations led her to establish connections in the antiapartheid movement; she befriended various members of the ANC, including Adelaide Tsukudu, the wife-to-be of the ANCs president in exile, Oliver Tambo. In 1957 friends introduced Winnie to Nelson Mandela, a lawyer and member of the ANC executive committee

At a Glance

Born Nkosikazi Nobandle Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela, in 1934, in Bizana, Pondoland, Transkei, South Africa; daughter of Columbine Mandikizela (a history teacher and government official) and a domestic science teacher; married Nelson Mandela (an attorney and political activist), June, 1958; children: Zindziswa, Zenani Dlamini (both daughters). Education: Graduated from Jan Hofmeyer School of Social Work, 1955.

Medical social worker at Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto, Transvaal, South Africa, beginning in 1955; member of Federation of South African Women and other womens political groups; joined Womens League of African National Congress (ANC) in 1957 and became head of its local branch; participated in numerous demonstrations protesting South Africas apartheid policy of racial segregation; named a banned person by South African authorities, 1962; acted as spokesperson and carried on political activity on Nelson Mandelas behalf, 1964-90; arrested many times for political activities; held in solitary confinement, 1969-70; served a six-month sentence for violating banning orders, 1974; named head of social-welfare department of ANC, 1990.

Awards: Robert F. Kennedy Humanitarian Award, 1985; Third World Prize, 1985.

Addresses: HomeSoweto, Transvaal, South Africa.

who was one of the accused in a treason trial taking place at that time. The pair began a courtship that was brief and rather unorthodox because of the time Nelson Mandela had to devote to his court case and law practice. Nevertheless, on June 14,1958, Nelson received permission to go to the Transkei where he and Winnie were married.

1958 also marked the beginning of Winnie Mandelas encounters with the security policein September, she and thousands of other women were arrested for demonstrating against the governments pass laws, which required blacks to carry identification documents showing their assigned residence and employment at all times. She was detained for two weeks and then released. At the time of her arrest, Mandela was a member of the national executive committee of the Federation of South African Women and chairperson of its Orlando branch and belonged to the national and provincial executive committees of the ANCs Womens League. She lost her job as a social worker at the hospital because of her arresta significant financial setback since she was the wage earner in the family.

Antiapartheid Activities Jeopardized Family Life

In 1960, after police fired on a group of people protesting the pass laws in the small town of Sharpeville, nationwide and worldwide demonstrations against apartheid ensued, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. Thousands of people were subsequently detained and the ANC was outlawed. Although he had already been released on bail during the treason trial, Nelson Mandela and other defendants were detained for nearly five months.

After a trial that lasted four and a half years, the court found the defendants in the treason case not guilty. The few months between March and December of 1961 would be the only timeuntil 1991that Nelson and Winnie and their two young girls would have any semblance of a family life. In December, after the ANC was outlawed, Nelson went underground, addressing meetings throughout the country and abroad with the purpose of establishing a military wing of the ANC. He was apprehended in 1962, however, and charged with inciting Africans to strike in a 1961 work stoppage and with illegally leaving the country. While serving a five-year sentence on these charges, he was found guilty of sabotage in another trial and was sentenced to life in prison in 1964.

Meanwhile, Winnie Mandela had her own run-ins with the government and was banned in 1962. Since her husbands trial was held in Pretoria, a city outside her restricted area, Winnie was required to obtain special permission to attend it. She and the other companions of the men on trial appeared at the courthouse in traditional tribal dress, hoping to inspire people and evoke a sense of militancy against the white government of South Africa. When the authorities outlawed the dress, Winnie, in a gesture typical of her defiance, chose to wear gold, green, and black, the colors of the outlawed ANC.

After the trial, Winnie Mandela was left to raise two children on her own without a source of income. Although she had visitation rights, she was not allowed any physical contact with her husband for the next 22 years. That is part of ones life one does not even want to remember I could only visit him once in six months, Winnie recounted to D. Michael Cheers in Ebony. We had to keep [a] link through letters and through visits when they were increased, she continued. At the end of [the prisoners] stay on Robben Island, we could visit them two times a month. And it would be a visit of two people at a given time. That helped a lot to keep the family ties and to sort of keep that link between him and the children. Before that, all they did was read about their father.

A Striking Symbol of Defiance

Mandela recounted her experiences as the wife of a jailed political dissident in her 1984 memoir, Part of My Soul Went with Him, which New York Times Book Review contributor Paula Giddings called not only a compelling account of political defiance but a moving love story as well. Recalling in the work the time when her husband was first imprisoned, Mandela explained, the difficult part was finding myself with a spotlight on me. I wasnt ready for that. A photogenic woman who is a striking symbol of defiance in her traditional dress, Mandela garnered international recognition as a spokesperson for the black cause in South Africa. She noted in Part of My Soul Went with Him that I had to think so carefully what I saidas [Nelsons] representative. I dont mean careful because of my banning orders but because of the responsibility.

With more stringent restrictions imposed on her by the government in 1965, Mandela was forced to leave a position she held with the Child Welfare Society because she could not travel outside of Orlando in Soweto. She remained banned, except for two weeks in 1970, until 1975. As documented in her memoir, Mandela did not understand why she was banned in 1962, since she had delivered only one inflammatory speech, and years later, she asked security branch head Johan Coetzee to explain. Coetzee pointed to the governments wariness of Mandela and told her: There is a saying in Afrikaans that if you have a field with a lot of pumpkins and you see a pig next to those pumpkins, you dont have to be told that the pig is going to eat those pumpkins.

On several occasions between 1962 and 1975 Mandela was charged with violating her banning orders. In 1967 she was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for failing to give her name and address to security police in Cape Town where she had been allowed to visit her husband at the prison on Robben Island. Her sentence was soon suspended, but in May of 1969, she and 21 others were detained under the Suppression of Communism Act, having been accused of promoting the aims of the outlawed ANC. Though the charges were withdrawn, Mandela was immediately redetained in 1970 on the same charges and placed in solitary confinement in Pretoria Central Prison under Section Six of the Terrorism Act.

Banned and Imprisoned

Mandela served 17 difficult months in detentionmost of it in solitary confinement. She described her imprisonment in Part of My Soul Went with Him: Those first few days are the worst in anyones lifethat uncertainty, that insecurity. The whole thing is calculated to destroy you. You are not in touch with anybody. And in those days all I had in the cell was a sanitary bucket, a plastic bottle which could contain only about three glasses of water, and a mug. The days and nights became so long I found I was talking to myself. Your body becomes sore, because you are not used to sleeping on cement. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of her detention, though, was the separation she endured from her daughters, who were sent to school in Swaziland, a kingdom of South Africa.

Upon Mandelas release in September of 1970, the government renewed her banning orders for five more years, only two weeks after they expired. She was also restricted to her home in Orlando at night and on weekends and public holidays and was prohibited from having any visitors at all, except her two daughters. Between 1970 and 1973 she was accused several times of violating her banning orders, but all of the convictions were set aside on appeal. In October of 1974, though, she was sentenced to six months in Kroonstad Prison for meeting with another banned person. Finally, after 13 years of being banned, she tasted freedom when the government did not renew her banning orders for a 10-month period.

During this time, Mandela helped organize the Black Womens Federation, and later, she helped establish the Black Parents Association to assist people with medical and legal problems that followed the actions of police during a 1976 Soweto riot. Mandelas freedom was brief, however, because in August, after the riots, she and thousands of others were apprehended under the Internal Security Act for their involvement in antigovernment activities. She was held until December of 1976 and, on the 28th, received new banning orders, which were eventually made more rigid: she was banished from her Orlando home to Phatakahle, a black township of about five thousand people located in a province called Orange Free State.

Launched Social Programs

Winnie Mandela was confined to the Brandfort area for eight years. During that time, because she had become a figure of international standing, Mandela received many foreign visitors at her isolated farm community. Through her contacts and training she helped the local black community establish a nursery school or creche, a soup kitchen for the school children, and a mobile health unit, and she initiated self-help projects that ranged from growing vegetables to knitting clothes to sewing school uniforms. While in Brandfort, she was charged innumerable times with violating her banning ordersshe entertained visitors frequently despite her restrictions and 24-hour police surveillance.

In August of 1985 Mandelas Brandfort house was firebombed, an act she blamed on the disgruntled government since, prior to that, she had defied her banning orders by returning to her home in Orlando. Faced with her refusal to return to Brandfort, the government amended her banning orders to allow her to stay anywhere in South Africa except in the Johannesburg and Roodeport magisterial districts. Mandela also ignored that order, and the police tried several times to forcibly remove her, but she always returned. Eventually, in February of 1986, the authorities provisionally withdrew their charges. Advised by her lawyers that her banning orders were invalid, Mandela began making speechesin one she allegedly advocated the use of violence to protest the governmentand soon the government officially lifted her restrictions.

Legal Difficulties Tarnished Reputation

Winnie Mandela moved out of her Orlando home and into a large newly built house in an exclusive area of Soweto. She soon became a controversial figure in Soweto, and in 1988 other antiapartheid groups took steps to distance themselves from Mandela. Much of the problem surrounded the so-called Mandela United Football Club, a group of young men who lived in Mandelas house and acted as her bodyguards. Many members of the club were implicated in robberies, assaults, and murders in the Soweto area, and the club was condemned by neighbors of Mandela, who accused the young men of intimidation and extortion.

The most serious development came when two members of the club were charged by police in the kidnapping and beating of three black youths and the kidnapping and murder of 14-year-old renegade Stompie Moeketsi, an extraordinary young leader whose 1,500-member childrens army had opposed the tactics of oppressive groups like the football club for years. Mandela claimed that the charges were lies made up by the police and that Moeketsi had died of beatings and sexual abuse incurred at the Methodist church in which he had previously been hiding out.

Nevertheless, Mandelas bodyguards soon came under suspicion in two other murders, and South Africas two largest organizationsthe Congress of South African Trade Unions and the banned United Democratic Frontboth made formal statements in 1989 dissociating themselves from Mandela and her entourage. Embarrassed by the circumstances, even the ANC stepped up its pressure to have the football club dismantled, and after discussions with her husband, Mandela announced that the bodyguards would be removed from her home. By that point, however, Mandelas once lofty reputation in the eyes of her people had been somewhat tarnished.

No Regrets and an Abundance of Hope

Choosing to support his wife, Nelson Mandela, upon his release from prison on February 11, 1990, declared a deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife, and told Winnie, I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own, as quoted by Christopher S. Wren in the New York Times. With her reputation temporarily rehabilitated, Mandela was appointed head of the ANCs social-welfare department in August of 1990. Her legal troubles were far from over, however, and she was ordered to stand trial when the three surviving youths of the Soweto kidnapping testified in the trial of Jerry Richardsonwho was convicted of killing Moeketsithat Winnie Mandela took part in the beatings. At least I will be able to stand a proper trial, Mandela was quoted as saying in Time, and clear my name properly.

The judge assigned to Mandelas ensuing court case, however, described her testimony as vague, evasive, equivocal, inconsistent, unconvincing and brazenly untruthful, and convicted her on the charge of accessory after the fact to the assaults; she was subsequently sentenced to six months in prison. Freed on bail, Mandela won a reprieve in July of 1991 when she was given permission to appeal her conviction, a process that could take months or years. The result of Winnie Mandelas legal difficulties, surmised Wren, is a dented image for the ANC and potential setbacks in substantive discussion between the ANC and South Africas president, F. W. de Klerk. Mr. Mandela said that the conviction would not directly affect negotiations, observed Wren in May of 1990, yet it is hard to see how he could trust the Government if his wife were in prison.

Despite the controversy surrounding Winnie Mandela, she continues to represent the persistence of South African blacks in their struggle to abolish apartheid. Newsweek reporter Joseph Contreras noted that Winnie Mandelas greatest contribution to her country may have been the encouragement she gave her husband during the long, lonely years before hope suddenly blossomed and celebrity exacted its price. Mandela herself wrote in Part of My Soul Went with Him, I knew when I married [Nelson Mandela] that I married the struggle, the liberation of my people. She expressed no regrets in a 1990 Ebony interview about her role in the decades-long effort to eradicate South Africas ruling government. In the end, she declared with unwavering hope, we shall attain our freedom at whatever cost.

Selected writings

Part of My Soul Went with Him, edited by Anne Benjamin, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1984, Norton, 1985.

Sources

Books

Benson, Mary, Nelson Mandela: The Man and the Movement, Norton, 1986.

Contemporary Authors, Volume 125, Gale, 1989.

Mandela, Winnie, Part of My Soul Went with Him, edited by Anne Benjamin, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1984, Norton, 1985.

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, October 16, 1983.

Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 1985.

Ebony, December 1985; May 1990.

Macleans, February 12, 1990.

Ms., November 1985; January 1987.

Newsweek, December 16, 1985; December 30, 1985; April 29, 1991; May 27, 1991.

New York Times, August 18, 1985; February 17, 1989; September 25, 1989; February 18, 1990; April 17, 1991; May 14, 1991; May 15, 1991; May 19, 1991; July 17, 1991.

New York Times Book Review, December 8, 1985.

People, September 28, 1987.

Time, February 25, 1982; October 1, 1990; February 25, 1991; May 27, 1991.

Washington Post, August 26, 1985; September 23, 1985; December 24, 1985; May 12, 1985.

Virginia Curtin Knight

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Winnie Mandela

Winnie Mandela

Winnie Mandela (born 1936), South Africa's first black professional social welfare worker, chose service to needy people and devotion of her energy and skill to the struggle for equality and justice for all people in South Africa. After her marriage to Nelson Mandela in 1958 she suffered harassment, imprisonment, and periodic banishment for her continuing involvement in that struggle. In 1992, the marriage ended, but problems for Mandela continued.

The person the world knows as Winnie Mandela began life as Nomzamo ("she who strives," "she who has to undergo trials") Winifred (Winnie) Madikizela, daughter of Columbus and Gertrude Madikizela. Members of the Madikizela extended family were Xhosa-speaking people of the Pondo nation situated in what is today the so-called homeland nation of the Transkei. Both of her parents were mission-educated, English-speaking teachers: her father taught at the local eM-bongweni Primary School and represented Eastern Pondoland in the territorial council which arbitrated Pondo law and custom; her mother, while still single, taught domestic science. She died when Mandela was nine. Their children's education was always a central concern. Through a combination of curiosity, intelligence, determination, and the financial support she received from family members and sponsors, Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela completed primary school and Shawbury High School, where she distinguished herself as a person of exceptional personal and leadership qualities.

In 1953 she was admitted to the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work and left the Transkei to reside at the American Board Mission's Helping Hand Hostel for women in central Johannesburg. When she completed her degree in 1955 she was the first black professional social worker in South Africa. She turned down a scholarship for further study in the United States in order to take up a challenging career in medical social welfare at the Baragwaneth Hospital in Johannesburg, where one of her boarding house roommates, Adelaide Tsukudu, worked as a staff nurse.

It was through her friendship with Adelaide Tsukudu that she met Adelaide's fiancéOliver Tambo, and they introduced her to a prominent lawyer and member of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, Nelson Mandela. Mandela was then on trial along with 156 other people in the now infamous "treason trial" lasting from August 1958 to March 29, 1961. It is from this period that Winnie Madikizela's devotion to the welfare of ordinary people matured from efforts to help people cope with the extreme hardship of their lives to efforts to challenge and transform the governmental structures and social relations which created and reproduced hardship for the majority population.

The Mandelas were married in a Methodist service in the Transkei on June 19, 1958, returning after the celebrations to live in Mandela's home in the Soweto township outside Johannesburg in compliance with legal constraints imposed in connection with the "treason trial" litigation. The Mandelas, both well educated and of prominent social backgrounds, shared respect for popular society, tolerance of a broad range of religious and political views, and a firm commitment to turn their relative privilege and experience to the service of the majority population. Nelson Mandela had long devoted himself to the goal of dismantling the oppressive state structures which contributed to the dehumanization and impoverishment of South African peoples through his political involvement in the African National Congress Youth League. His family shared his commitment, and, like thousands of other South Africans, suffered pain, separation, incarceration, poverty, and daily indignities for that commitment.

Winnie Mandela's first encounters with South Africa's security police also began in 1958. The government extended "pass" legislation to African women. African men had long been required to carry a pass (an identification and employment history document) which constrained their ability to sell their labor and skills to best advantage. This forced them to labor and live on terms most favorable to the dominant white population. When pass legislation was extended to African women, who already labored in the least attractive and lowest paid jobs, the women took to the streets by the thousands to protest this additional burden. The Women's League of the African National Congress naturally embraced the issue. In October 1958 Winnie Mandela was among the more than one thousand women arrested in anti-pass demonstrations. The two weeks she spent in prison for her participation proved a mere hint of the draconian treatment the South African Nationalist government had in store for her and her comrades over the next decades. She lost her job and income as a social worker, subsequent to her arrest. In 1960, after South African Police fired on a group of people who were protesting the pass laws nationwide and international protests against apartheid prompted the government to declare a state of emergency. Thousands were arrested and detained.

After the treason trial where Nelson Mandela and his co-defendants were found not guilty ended, the Mandelas and their two young daughters were able to have a semblance of family life spent between March and December. In 1962 Nelson Mandela went into hiding to continue his leadership within the then banned ANC. He was subsequently apprehended, tried, and in 1964 sentenced to life imprisonment for his political activities. Winnie Mandela waged a determined fight to raise and educate their daughters, Zenani (Zeni) born in 1959 and Zindziswa (Zinzi) born in 1960, and to earn the family's living on her own. From day to day Winnie Mandela never knew when police would tear her away from her terrified children and jail her on some triviality. She finally made the painful decision to send her children to boarding school in Swaziland so that they could live and learn unharrassed by the South African government. Although she had visitation rights she was unable to have physical contact with her husband for the next 22 years. Her indomitable spirit kept his name in the public eye and never allowed anyone to forget the injustice being done to Nelson Mandela.

After 1962 Winnie Mandela was subjected to a virtually uninterrupted series of legal orders (so-called banning orders) which prevented her from living, working, and socializing like any other ordinary person. She was prohibited from publishing or addressing more than one person at a time, subjected to house arrest, incarcerated in solitary confinement, terrorized by police harassment and arbitrary arrest, and on May 17, 1977, she was seized from her home in the Orlando section of Soweto and forced to reside in the black township outside the rural town of Brandfort in the distant Orange Free State.

The so-called banishment order separated her from friends, family, and her livelihood. Despite her isolation in Brandfort, Mandela soon bridged the social and physical barriers meant to contain her creative energy. With the monetary and emotional support she received from international sympathizers and the trust she soon built among the Brandfort community, she initiated social welfare programs and continued to politicize the township population. She consistently exploited the limited financial support and physical protection she received as an internationally known political figure to continue to advance the political goals of South Africa's majority population. The continuous and escalating level of persecution suffered by Winnie Mandela was one side of the coin. Her unwavering commitment to justice, effectiveness as a leader in the struggle for social justice, and refusal to be bullied into submission was the flip side.

In August 1985 Winnie Mandela's "prison cell" in Brandfort was firebombed. No one was charged with the crime, but the shocking attack convinced Mandela to defy the government and return to her home in Soweto. After her return Mandela's defiance continued unabated—she ignored her banning order and spoke at public gatherings and to the international media. The government chose not to meet her defiance with the fullness of police action possible under law.

In 1988, her controversial Mandela United Football Club, a group of young men who lived in her newly built house in Soweto and acted as her bodyguards, caused many other antiapartheid groups to distance themselves from her. These young men were implicated in robberies, assaults and murders in the Soweto area, and Mandela's neighbors accused them of intimidation and extortion. Matters came to a head when two club members were charged by the police with the kidnapping and beating of three African youths, as well as the kidnapping and murder of 14-year-old Stompie Moeketsi. Moeketsi was a young leader whose 1500-member "children's army" opposed Mandela's club and its tactics. Mandela claimed that the boy died of beatings and sexual abuse incurred at the Methodist church where he had been previously hiding out. Even so, Mandela's bodyguards came under suspicion in two other murders and South Africa's largest organizations. The Congress of South African Trade Unions and the United Democratic Front both issued statements in 1989 disassociating themselves from Mandela and her entourage. Mandela finally disbanded her bodyguards and had the club dismantled after pressure from the ANC and her husband. Mandela's once unblemished image was tarnished in the eyes of her people and it wasn't until Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990 that she was somewhat rehabilitated.

Nelson Mandela stood by his wife when she was appointed head of the ANC's social welfare department and eventually given a cabinet post in his new government. Her legal troubles continued however. She was ordered to stand trial for the death of Moeketsi when the three surviving youths of the Soweto kidnapping testified in the trial of Jerry Richardson—who was convicted of murdering Moeketsi—that Mandela took part in the beatings. The judge assigned to Mandela's case described her testimony as "vague, evasive, equivocal, inconsistent, unconvincing and brazenly untruthful". She was convicted on the charge of accessory after-the-fact in the assaults and sentenced to six months in prison. Freed on bail, Mandela was permitted to appeal her conviction, a process that would take years.

In April 1992, Nelson and Winnie Mandela agreed to separate after 33 years of marriage. During the separation, Mandela continued to be plagued with scandal and in April 1995 resigned her cabinet post. In 1996, a judge granted Nelson Mandela a divorce, feeling that the couple would never be reconciled.

After the divorce, Mandela created a museum out of the Orlando West Soweto home where she and President Mandela lived. In 1997 she was re-elected as president of the African National Congress Women's League, much to the dismay of the ANC leadership. Mandela remained popular among the poorest of the and maintained her home in Soweto, just a few moments away from the Orlando Museum House.

Further Reading

Two current biographies of Nomzamo Winnie Mandela provide complementary coverage of her personal and political life. Winnie Mandela, Mother of a Nation by Nancy Harrison (London, 1985) is a narrative biography; Part of My Soul Went with Him is a compilation of interviews with Winnie Mandela and persons close to her, edited by Anne Benjamin and Mary Benson (1985); Current issues appear in The Economist May 10, 1997; For background on the political struggle within South Africa readers may also wish to consult the following: Mary Benson, Nelson Mandela, Panaf Great Lives (London, 1980); and Tom Lodge, Black Politics in South Africa Since 1945 (1983). □

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Mandela, Winnie

Mandela, Winnie 1936-

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela was Columbus and Gertrude Madikizelas fifth child, born on September 26, 1936, in Pondoland Hills in Bizana (near Transkei), South Africa. Winnies father encouraged her to complete a diploma at the prestigious Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work in Johannesburg. She became the first black female social worker at Baragwanath Hospital. She would later complete a bachelors degree in International Relations from the University of Witwatersrand. Winnie married political activist and leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on June 14, 1958. Winnie and Nelson moved to Soweto and immediately began a life together fighting the oppressive apartheid regime of South Africa. Winnie became actively involved in the ANC Womens League and participated in protests against various obstructions to black South Africans freedom, including the requirement for blacks to carry passes in order to travel within the country. Blacks that were caught without passes could be subjected to abuse and jail time. Nelson and Winnie were under tremendous scrutiny by the South African government. Nelson left the country to avoid being arrested for treason. He was arrested upon his return for inciting black South African workers to strike and for leaving the country without proper traveling documents. In 1962, Nelson would begin a twenty-eight year incarceration.

Winnie worked for the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society and was continually placed under numerous bans for her suspected affiliation with ANC. She was fired from various jobs due to repeated harassment of her employers by South African police. She also faced consistent bans inhibiting her ability to raise her two children, Zeni and Zindzi. In 1970, Winnie was detained for 491 days in Pretoria Prison before being released on house arrest. Frequent threats against Winnies life, including a bomb explosion outside of her home, led her twelve-year-old daughter Zindzi to write a letter of appeal to the United Nations for her mothers protection. Winnie would be arrested and jailed two additional times, in 1974 and in 1976, after the Soweto student uprising against Bantu education led to the police beating and killing of many children. Winnie was viewed as an instigator and was arrested under the Internal Security Act. Winnie became an executive member of the Federation of South African Women, the Black Parents Association, and continued supporting the efforts of the ANC. She inspired many black South Africans and was known as the Mother of the Nation. After her release from jail in 1976, she was banished for nine years to a remote black township known as Brandfort. For a time, she lived with no heat, no toilet, and no running water in a three-room shack she shared with Zindzi. Her eldest daughter, Zeni, married Prince Thumbumuzi of Swaziland in 1978.

Winnie was linked with radical factions of ANC during the 1980s and her legacy became tarnished by several key incidents, which eventually led to her divorce in 1996 from then President Nelson Mandela. The incidents centered around a group of bodyguards she formed, known as the Mandela United Football Club. Winnie was implicated in the murder of fourteen-year-old ANC activist James Stompie Moeketsi and numerous other beatings and deaths associated with the Football Club. When she appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Bishop Desmond Tutu (b. 1931) begged her to admit her mistakes and Winnie acquiesced with the words things went horribly wrong. She was convicted on 43 counts of fraud in 2003 and is considered a leading anti-apartheid activist and controversial figure around the world.

SEE ALSO African National Congress; Anticolonial Movements; Apartheid; Colonialism; Mandela, Nelson; Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Appiah, Kwame Anthony, and Henry Louis Gates, eds. 2004. Africana: Civil Rights; An A-to-Z Reference of the Movement that Changed America. Philadelphia: Running Press.

Harrison, Nancy. 1985. Winnie Mandela: Mother of a Nation. London: Victor Gollancz.

Hunter-Gault, Charlayne. April 5, 2003. Winnie Mandela Resigns ANC Post. Cable News Network. http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/africa/04/25/mandela.sentencing.

Mandela, Nelson. 1994. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Wines, Michael. 2004. No Jail for Winnie Mandela. July 6. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/.

Kijua Sanders-McMurtry

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