Winnie Mandela committed child murder and fraud, but was never jailed for it. She also passed herself off as a martyr for the cause of black rule in South Africa, while advocating and practising sadistic violence. Her infamous call to arms in 1986, describing the gruesome “necklace” method of killing, is now part of South African history: “Together, hand in hand, with our matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country.”
Her chilling slogan which led to 400 incidents of black-on-black violence during which petrol-saked tyres were place around the victims’ necks and then set alight, was part of the ANC and South African Communist Party’s doctrine of “people’s war”. Originating in North Vietnam during the conflict with the USA, “people’s war” essentially meant “terrorising your own people until they support you”.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, as she became known after her divorce from Nelson, was born in the rural Transkei, on 26 September 1936, although some sources indicate the year as 1934. As a child in a typical African environment, she tended cattle. Her father worked as in official in the Transkei government. In fact, the Transkei only became part of South Africa in 1994 and had been nominally independent since 1895. But like other members of her Xhosa tribe, Winnie Mandela migrated to Johannesburg, South Africa where she was graciously educated by whites at the Hofmeyr School of Social Work.
She had an affair with Nelson Mandela in the late 1950s, after which he divorced his first wife. When her husband was jailed for sabotage and treason in 1964, following on the Communist Party’s preparations to terrorise South African civilians with bombings, she was thrust into the limelight and became the darling of the Left in many Western countries. The New York Times this week proudly stated that it had carried the first of its many articles on Winnie Mandela on 9 April 1967.
Although Winnie Mandela was found guilty of various crimes, including being an accessory to murder and fraud, she never went to prison, due in no small part to her international notoriety. However, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission presided over by Bishop Desmond Tutu, found her guilty of “gross human rights violations” relating to her notorious “soccer club” and the murder of the boy, Stompie Seipei, in January 1989. Stompie was 14 years old at the time.
During his testimony before the TRC, Winnie Mandela’s chief bodyguard and member of the notorious “Mandela Football Club”, Jerry Richardson, testified: “I killed Stompie under instructions of Mami (Madikizela-Mandela).” He also said: “I slaughtered him (Seipei) like a goat.”
Richardson was found guilty of murdering Stompie Seipei and spent several years in prison for his crime.
Winnie Mandela was also accused of the murder of a family friend, Dr. Abu-Baker Asvat, an Indian doctor who had examined Seipei at Mandela’s house, after Seipei had been abducted but before he had been killed. During the TRC hearings, it came to light that Mandela had paid an amount of $8 000 and supplied the firearm for killing Asvat on 27 January 1989. However, the TRC hearings were later adjourned, as reported by the BBC, because witnesses were being intimidated by Winnie Mandela’s thugs. The BBC reported at the time in Winnie hearing adjourned after intimidation claims:
“As the hearing began, eight men dressed in combat fatigues entered the hall and stood in a prominent position. They were believed to be supporters of Mrs Mandela.”
In 2003 she was convicted of fraud, while abusing her position as president of the ANC’s Womens League to create an insurance scam, using more than forty of the members’ identity documents. She was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, but this was later reduced to a suspended sentence on appeal when a white liberal judge took pity on her for having had “a hard life in the struggle”.
After Nelson Mandela died, Winnie was involved in various family and legal squabbles over his estate, particularly his house at Qunu in their native Transkei. Bureaucrats from the Transkei supported Winnie Mandela’s claim that the house belonged to her, saying in 2014: “Customarily, the property and the house became the house of Mrs Madikizela-Mandela as the second wife of the late Mr Nelson Mandela.”
However, Winnie had not received anything in Nelson Mandela’s will, whereas his last wife from Mozambique, Graça Machel, and his children inherited the lion’s share.
The current president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been a supporter of Winnie Mandela and her anti-white radicalism. Following upon her death, he praised her effusively.
“Winnie Mandela leaves a huge legacy,” Ramaphosa said. “As we say in African culture‚ ‘A giant tree has fallen.’ And this is the Winnie Mandela tree that provided shade for the people of SA. For the people who were in the struggle‚ they used to run under this tree for refuge‚ for shade and for security. That is what Winnie Mandela provided for the millions of people in our country. We are sad that this tree has finally fallen.”
Although a convicted criminal under South African law, Winnie Mandela will receive an official state funeral. Announcing the funeral, president Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement:
“Mam’ Winnie deserves the highest respect our nation can demonstrate in honour of a patriot and citizen who served our nation and humanity at large with distinction during our liberation struggle and throughout our democratic dispensation.”
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said this category comprised “elements of military ceremonial honours and is declared‚ in line with the Presidency’s State‚ Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy‚ for persons of extraordinary credentials specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa”.
In line with the policy, all South African flags shall fly at half-mast, from now until the evening of 14 April 2018, after her burial. “The
This means that the South African flag shall immediately fly at half-mast at “all flag stations countrywide” and South African diplomatic missions abroad. “The President has further declared national days of mourning from today‚ April 3 2018 until April 14 2018,” the presidential spokesperson continued.
The official memorial service will be held at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church on Mkhize Street in Soweto on 11 April, a church which has traditionally exhorted the inhabitants of the sprawling black township to riot against the authorities. The official funeral will be held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on April 14.