How Nelson Mandela betrayed us, says ex-wife Winnie
Nadira Naipaul, Evening Standard
Trial of unity: Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie arriving at the Rand Supreme Court, Johannesburg, in 1991 to hear charges against Winnie of kidnap and assault against 14-year-old Stompie Moeketsi
My husband and I have just crossed Africa. On the final leg of our journey we had finally come to South Africa - a place that now went hand in hand with the name Mandela.
My husband had been reluctant to come here but then he had followed his instinct and it had brought us to the Soweto door of the mystifying Winnie Mandela, a much celebrated and reviled woman of our times.
Looking out at her garden, I wondered how long we would have to wait to see her. We were in a stronghold of sorts, with high enclosing walls and electronic gates which were controlled from inside a bunker-like guardhouse. There were tall muscular men dressed in black who casually appeared and disappeared.
In the late Eighties, Winnie's thuggish bodyguards, the Mandela United Football Club, terrorised Soweto. Club "captain" was Jerry Richardson, who died in prison last year while serving life for the murder of Stompie Moeketsi, a 14-year-old who was kidnapped with three other boys and beaten in the home where we would soon sit, sipping coffee. Winnie was sentenced to six years for kidnap, which was reduced to a fine on appeal.
Members of the gang would later testify to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Winnie had ordered the torture, murder and kidnap of her own people, and even participated directly.
Winnie used to live, before she was famous, down one of the narrow, congested streets with small brick and iron sheet houses. Soweto is still a predominately black township: tourists come in buses to gawp at the streets linked to freedom, apartheid and Mandela.
Winnie now has an imposing fortress on the hill. The garden is full of trees and well-manicured shrubs. We walked straight into a small cluttered hallway. It was full of the man: Mandela. He was everywhere. Presents, portraits, honorary degrees and letters covering every empty space on the walls.
There was an air of expectancy as we entered. Our fixer had arranged this meeting with Winnie (or Mama Mandela, her township name) through her confidant and admirer. He is a young man in his early forties who is a well-known television presenter here and clearly an ardent devotee.
He sat us down and talked softly about her. The politics of his generation, he said, had been defined by this woman. Her courage, her fire and her sheer stubbornness had made them men. They saw how unafraid she was and the risks and humiliations she was willing to absorb. These humiliations had not ended with apartheid. She was discarded, demonised and betrayed, he said.
My nerves were playing up: my husband does not like to be kept waiting at the best of times. He is punctilious and has been known to walk away from a delayed meeting, leaving me to deal with the fallout.
It was at that moment she appeared, tall, carefully attired in soft grey, wearing her signature wig. She held Vidia's outstretched hand and asked him to sit next to her. She flashed a smile in my direction. The air was electrified by her presence.
I did what was expected of me. I asked her if she was happy with the way things had panned out in South Africa. Winnie looked at my husband. Did he wish for the truth? She had heard of him. He pursued the truth or the closest he could get to it.
“With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.” - Winnie Mandela
Necklacing refers to the practice of summary execution carried out by forcing a rubber tire (tyre), filled with gasoline, around a victim's chest and arms, and setting it on fire. The victim may take up to 20 minutes to die, suffering severe burns in the process. The first recorded lethal lynching by necklacing took place in Uitenhage on 23 March 1985 when African National Congress (ANC) supporters killed a councillor who was suspected of being a collaborator.
Necklacing was frequently carried out in the name of the ANC. An example of necklacing was the case of a young girl Maki Skosana in July 1985: “Her body had been scorched by fire and some broken pieces of glass had been inserted into her vagina,” Moloko told the committee.
No, she was not happy. And she had her reasons. "I kept the movement alive," she began. "You have been in the township. You have seen how bleak it still is. Well, it was here where we flung the first stone. It was here where we shed so much blood. Nothing could have been achieved without the sacrifice of the people. Black people."
She looked at Vidia expecting another question. He said nothing, but his dark hooded eyes shone and she carried on with her eyes firmly locked onto his face. "The ANC was in exile. The entire leadership was on the run or in jail. And there was no one to remind these people, black people, of the horror of their daily reality; when something so abnormal as apartheid becomes a daily reality. It was our reality. And four generations had lived with it - as non-people."
As she spoke, I looked at her thinking she was, at 73, as her reputation promised, quite extraordinary. The ANC had needed this passionate revolutionary. Without her, the fire would have been so easily extinguished and she had used everything and anything to stoke it. While some still refer to her as Mother of the Nation, she is decried by many because of her links to the Stompie murder and other violent crimes during the apartheid era, and a conviction for fraud.
"Were you not afraid?" I asked instinctively, but then I regretted this foolish query.
She looked towards my chair. Her grey glasses focused on my face. "Yes, I was afraid in the beginning. But then there is only so much they can do to you. After that it is only death. They can only kill you, and as you see, I am still here."
I knew that the apartheid enforcers had done everything in their power to break this woman. She had suffered every indignity a person could bear. They had picked her up in the night and placed her under house arrest in Brandfort, a border town in Orange Free State, 300 miles from Soweto. "It was exile," she said, "when everything else had failed."
At this remote outpost, where she spent nine years, she had recruited young men for the party. "Right under their noses," she said to Vidia, laughing with the memory of it. "The only worry or pain I had was for my daughters. Never really knowing what was happening to them. I feel they have really suffered in all this. Not me or Mandela," she said.
Her two young daughters had never quite understood what was really happening. Bad men went to prison. Their father was in prison but he was not bad. "That anguish was unbearable for me as a mother, not knowing how my children coped when they held me in long solitary confinement."
Zenani, now 51, and Zindzi, 50, remain very much in the background, having no wish to enter politics themselves, Winnie said. Nelson Mandela is no longer "accessible" to his daughters and they have to get through much red tape just to speak to their father, she told us.
Winnie brought up his name very casually, as if it was of no real value to her: not any more.
"This name Mandela is an albatross around the necks of my family. You all must realise that Mandela was not the only man who suffered. There were many others, hundreds who languished in prison and died. Many unsung and unknown heroes of the struggle, and there were others in the leadership too, like poor Steve Biko, who died of the beatings, horribly all alone. Mandela did go to prison and he went in there as a burning young revolutionary. But look what came out," she said, looking to the writer. He said nothing but listened.
It is hard to knock a living legend. Only a wife, a lover or a mistress has that privilege. Only they are privy to the intimate inner man, I thought.
"Mandela let us down. He agreed to a bad deal for the blacks. Economically, we are still on the outside. The economy is very much 'white'. It has a few token blacks, but so many who gave their life in the struggle have died unrewarded."
She was pained. Her uncreased brown face had lost the softness.
Nelson Mandela, shortly after he was released from prison, by F.W de Klerk, sings a struggle song about “Killing Whites”; and prior to receiving a Nobel Peace Prize award for his alleged commitment to “reconciliation” with whites.
"I cannot forgive him for going to receive the Nobel [Peace Prize in 1993] with his jailer [FW] de Klerk. Hand in hand they went. Do you think de Klerk released him from the goodness of his heart? He had to. The times dictated it, the world had changed, and our struggle was not a flash in the pan, it was bloody to say the least and we had given rivers of blood. I had kept it alive with every means at my disposal".
We could believe that. The world-famous images flashed before our eyes and I am sure hers. The burning tyres - Winnie endorsed the necklacing of collaborators in a speech in 1985 ("with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country") - the stoning, the bullets, the terrible deaths of "informers". Her often bloodthirsty rhetoric has marred her reputation.
"Look at this Truth and Reconciliation charade. He should never have agreed to it." Again her anger was focused on Mandela. "What good does the truth do? How does it help anyone to know where and how their loved ones were killed or buried? That Bishop Tutu who turned it all into a religious circus came here," she said pointing to an empty chair in the distance.
"He had the cheek to tell me to appear. I told him a few home truths. I told him that he and his other like-minded cretins were only sitting here because of our struggle and ME. Because of the things I and people like me had done to get freedom."
Winnie did appear before the TRC in 1997, which in its report judged her to have been implicated in murders: "The commission finds Mandela herself was responsible for committing such gross violations of human rights."
When begged by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to admit that "things went horribly wrong" and apologise, Winnie finally said sorry to Stompie's mother and to the family of her former personal doctor whose killing she is alleged to have ordered after he refused to cover up Stompie's murder.
Someone brought in the coffee and we took the offered cups in silence.
"I am not alone. The people of Soweto are still with me. Look what they make him do. The great Mandela. He has no control or say any more. They put that huge statue of him right in the middle of the most affluent "white" area of Johannesburg. Not here where we spilled our blood and where it all started. Mandela is now a corporate foundation. He is wheeled out globally to collect the money and he is content doing that. The ANC have effectively sidelined him but they keep him as a figurehead for the sake of appearance."
The eyes behind the grey tinted glasses were fiery with anger. It was an economic betrayal, she was saying, nothing had changed for the blacks, except that apartheid had officially gone. As she spoke of betrayal she inadvertently looked at a portrait of Mandela.
I looked at Winnie. Maybe she did not know when to stop. Maybe that is the bane of a revolutionary: they gather such momentum that he or she can't stop. I saw that although her trials and tribulations had been recorded, the scars on the inner, most secret part of her spirit tormented her.
But for Winnie the deaths, the burning tyres around the necks of the informers and her own Faustian pacts perhaps made Mandela and his vaunted wisdom look like feeble compromises from a feeble man. No one could expect him to protect her or his children from his 27-year incarceration but now he was out he had wanted peace. He had longings, perhaps scars in the mind, fears and perhaps even wisdom that she could not match or return.
The rumour rife in South Africa was that she could not abide him or touch him during their two-year attempt to salvage the marriage after his release in 1990. It was all too sad. And though he had been prepared to forgive the past, his wife's affairs while he was in prison, it had not worked. They divorced in 1996, having spent only five of their 38 married years together. Her anger was a mighty liability and her defiance was too awful for words.
"I am not sorry. I will never be sorry. I would do everything I did again if I had to. Everything." She paused.
I thought of the terrible shadow of the murder of Stompie. Winnie had flung the stone that had cracked the one-way mirror of apartheid. The "interrogators", the compromisers, were now all unmasked and for what?
"You know, sometimes I think we had not thought it all out. There was no planning from our side. How could we? We were badly educated and the leadership does not acknowledge that. Maybe we have to go back to the drawing board and see where it all went wrong."
This was Winnie the politician. This was the phoenix. Publicly, the ANC leadership, who made her a minister in the first post-apartheid government in 1994 and welcomed her back subsequently, distanced themselves from her amid allegations of corruption (in 2003, she was convicted of fraud and given a suspended prison sentence). But for the masses, she spoke their language and remains popular with those who feel their government hasn't done enough.
We could see why the ANC had needed this obdurate woman. She was bold and had an idea of her worth. She was the perfect mistress for the ANC in the bad times but then she became dangerous.
As we stood up to leave, we saw a photograph of a young Winnie looking wistfully into the camera. She was ravishingly beautiful and Mandela had sought her. But the battle was over. She had played her part. It was over. She had been sidelined and discarded, but since the freedom had not brought the promised dream for the vast black population, she would continue to play her hand in politics. Of that I was sure. She was still a woman who could reflect the dangerous part of a man's dream, whatever it may be.
"When I was born my mother was very disappointed. She wanted a son. I knew that from a very early age. So I was a tomboy. I wanted to be a doctor at some point and I was always bringing home strays from school. People who were too poor to pay fees or have food. My parents never rebuked me or told me that they were hard-pressed, too."
She lit up talking of her past and of early memories that had nothing to do with the struggle. And then she suddenly turned towards Vidia and said: "But when I am alone I cannot help but think of the past. The past is still alive in here. In my head." She pointed to the brain.
Was it all nothing but a great loss? I wanted to know. Part of me ached for her. As a woman I felt her great transgressions and the pain. I wanted to tell her that if I had been Mandela I would have forgiven her but I lacked the courage. What would Vidia say to me if I did?
He was saying goodbye. My eyes were filling. Instinctively she turned and looked into me and her eyes softened. She walked towards me and pulled me into her embrace. "I know what you want to say," she whispered into my ear, "and for that I am grateful."
» » » » [Evening Standard]
While Winnie denies ‘Mandela Albatross’ interview; Dr. Blanton sticks to his Affidavit; Naipul's stick to their Interview story.
Winnie denies Madiba interview
IOL (Released by Nelson Mandela Corporate Foundation)
March 12 2010 at 01:12PM
Statement by Mrs. Winnie Madikizela Mandela regarding an alleged interview with Ms. Nadira Naipul
12 March, 2010
Sir Vidia & Lady Nadira Naipaul and Winnie Mandela in Sowetho. V. S. Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. He insists his writing transcends any particular ideological outlook, remarking that "to have a political view is to be prejudiced. I don't have a political view." Nadira Naipaul had worked as a journalist for the Pakistani newspaper, The Nation, for ten years before meeting Naipaul. [Wiki & Eve. Std]
In response to the "alleged" interview with Ms Nadira Naipul, published initially in the London Evening Standard and then widely picked up by media across the world, I would like to state categorically:
I did not give Ms Naipaul an interview. It is therefore not necessary for me to respond in any detail to the contents of a fabricated interview.
I will in the coming days deal with what I see as an inexplicable attempt to undermine the unity of my family, the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the high regard with which the name Mandela is held here and across the globe.
I have already had the opportunity to speak to Bishop Tutu, who was also in Atlanta, USA where I addressed a meeting. I intend speaking with Madiba and Graca, as I regularly do. I will also have to deal with the hurt caused to my children and grandchildren by the unwarranted and untrue statements about their private lives. I appreciate the fact that my organisation the ANC decided to hear my "side" before making any judgements.
Finally I repeat that I did not give Ms Naipul any interview. Any further questions about the content of that fictitious interview should be addressed to her.
» » » » [IOL]
» » [IOL: Winnie interview did happen, says UK paper]
20 Years of “Kaffir” “Freedom”??
Is Nelson Mandela an “Icon of Freedom and Forgiveness”; or a “Kaffir”?
What kind of “Freedom” and “Forgiveness” bans those who use the word “Kaffir” (to describe lying, corrupt politicians), with a prison sentence; and elects lying corrupt politicians who sing “Kill the Boer Rapists” to the Presidency?
Might it be what a “Kaffir”, calls “Freedom”? Who, or what is a “Kaffir”, if you apply the “Kaffir” definition of: “someone who knows the truth, but conceals it”?
Are you a “Kaffir”? Is F.W de Klerk a “Kaffir”? Archbiship Tutu a “Kaffir”? Are the Mail and Guardian Editors & Ombudsman “Kaffirs”?
M&G Press Code Violations: Re: “Mandela: Icon of Freedom & Forgiveness”
Thursday, February 11, 2010
 Reality of Life for (a) Poor Blacks and (b) service delivery for all South Africans; under ‘National Party’s White Supremacy’ vs. ‘ANC’s Black Elite Corrupt Domination’:
Did you know that the life expectancy of black South Africans nearly equalled that of Europeans during the last decade of Apartheid? Did you know that the black population nearly trebled during Apartheid? Did you know that black South Africans had the highest per capita income and education levels in Africa during Apartheid?
At the start of the year 1900, the number of African South Africans was found to be 3,5-million according to the British colonial government census. By 1954, the African population had soared to 8,5-million -- and by 1990, there were a full 35-million.
In the decades prior to the official policy of apartheid, (which was started in 1948), the average life expectancy of African South Africans was only 38 years. However, during the last decade of the apartheid era from 1948 to 1994, the average life expectancy had risen to 64 years -- on a par with Europe's average life expectancy. Moreover, the infant death rates had by then also been reduced from 174 to 55 infant deaths per thousand, higher than Europe's, but considerably lower than the rest of the African continent's.
Why is the Transkei Collapsing?: An Open Letter from Cope’s Mbulelo Ncedana to Nelson Mandela I heard things I thought I'll never hear again; old people, with rheumy eyes, saying things were much better under the Bantustan government.
In our town of Umtata, the former capital and our pride, robots are forever not working because there's hardly any electricity most of the time; those that work are dysfunctional causing many to make accidents. As the results no one follows the traffic rules any longer.
Potholes are like dongas in the suburban areas. The twenty five litre plastic containers have become a necessary household material because the availability of water, in town, is arbitrary.
I ask what went wrong? During the time K.D. Mathandzima was the Prime Minister, and even during the military tenure of Bantu Holomisa, the town was very beautiful, fully maintained and clean. People had jobs. Then factories that created them closed down after 1994, because they were no longer subsidized and so could no longer cope with the competition from China, India, etc.
Here in South Africa (and this applies equally to the public and private sectors) dishonesty and incompetence are either rewarded or simply ignored. With a few exceptions, those who expose and confront the truth - and who try to uphold collective and personal accountability - are punished, marginalised and labelled.
When lying, cheating and conscious ineptitude become standard “governance” practice (whatever the “sector”), we are in deep crisis.
In conclusion, tata, I hope my letter does not upset you too much, but sometimes we need to take toll and assume responsibilities for our failures. We've failed our people. There's no other way of looking at it. I don't see the bunch that came after you doing things better, instead things seem to be going from bad to worse.
60% of South Africans: ‘Country Better Run under Apartheid’: ANC more corrupt, less trustworthy, less competent 
Most South Africans, both black and white, believe the country was better run under apartheid and say unemployment and crime are the government's top challenges, according to two new polls released this week (2002).
Overall, the polls showed that about 60 percent of South Africans felt the country was better run under apartheid, with both blacks and whites rating the current government less trustworthy, more corrupt, less able to enforce the law and less able to deliver government services than its white predecessor.
But black respondents were also beginning to wax nostalgic, with 20 percent now giving a positive rating to certain aspects of life under the apartheid regime, compared with 17 percent in 2000 and eight percent in 1995.
14 January 1999: HNP Jaap Marais’ Letter to Whitehouse :This is a picture of the country which under Verwoerd had the second highest economic growth rate in the world (7,9% per year), an average inflation rate of 2 per cent, was accommodating new labour in the formal sector at 73,6 per cent per year, and enabled the living standards of Blacks in the industrial sector to rise at 5,3 per cent per year as against those of Whites at 3,9 per cent per year. The Financial Mail published a special survey entitled “The fabulous years: 1961-66”. And as the previously mentioned Jan Botha wrote, Verwoerd “had launched the greatest programme of socio-economic upliftment for the non-Whites that South Africa had ever seen”.
This, Verwoerd achieved in the face of fierce diplomatic and economic opposition from the United States, Britain, Soviet Russia and others. Mandela, on the other hand, has the blessing and support of these powers, yet under his hand the country is disintegrating and has sunk to a state of lawlessness, joblessness and futurelessness unprecedented in South African history. Yet, Mandela is not struggling to emulate Verwoerd, but to denigrate him and his people.
» » » » [M&G Press Code Violations: 20 Years of 'ANC Freedom']
» » [Appeal of M&G Ombudsman Ruling: Clarifying Cultural Definitions of Respect]