#RIP // Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

winnie_2018-04-03_11-43-05.pngWinnie Madikizela-Mandela – Wikipedia – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, OLS (born Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela; 26 September 1936 [1] – 2 April 2018), [2] also known as Winnie Mandela, was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, and the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela. She served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 until her death, and was a deputy minister from 1994 to 1996. A member of the African National Congress (ANC) political party, she served on the ANC’s National Executive Committee and headed its Women’s League. Madikizela-Mandela was known to her supporters as the “Mother of the Nation”.[3]

Born to a Xhosa family in Bizana, and a qualified social worker, Madikizela-Mandela married anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg in 1958; they remained married for 38 years and had two children together. In 1963, after Mandela was imprisoned following the Rivonia Trial; she became his public face during the 27 years he spent in jail. During that period, she rose to prominence within the domestic anti-apartheid movement. She was detained by apartheid state security services on various occasions, subjected to banning orders, banished to a rural town, and spent several months in solitary confinement.

In the mid-1980s Madikizela-Mandela exerted a “reign of terror” in Soweto, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established by Mandela’s government to investigate human rights abuses revealed many of her violent activities during that period. The TRC had found Madikizela-Mandela to have been “politically and morally accountable for the gross violations of human rights committed by the “Mandela United Football Club”, her security detail.[3][4] Madikizela-Mandela endorsed violent behaviour; including necklacing against alleged police informers and collaborators with the National Party government. Her security detail carried out a number of these actions, including the kidnapping, torture, and murder of such individuals, most notoriously the teenager Stompie Moeketsi.[3][5]

Nelson Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990, and the couple separated in 1992; their divorce was finalised in March 1996. They remained in contact, and she visited him when he was ill in later life.[6] As a senior ANC figure, she took part in the post-apartheid ANC government, although was dismissed from her post amid allegations of corruption. In 2003, she was convicted of theft and fraud. She temporarily retreated from active political involvement, returning several years later.[citation needed]

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