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Text Box:  Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (born September 26, 1934 or 1936 as Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela) is the ex-wife of former South African president and African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela.
Winnie is  a significant and formidable politician in her own right, having held government positions and headed the ANC Women's League. A controversial figure, she is known to her supporters as 'Mother of the Nation' and is popular because of her activism, yet reviled by others for her strong actions. 
She demonstrated historical commitment and had been the family backbone to Nelson Mandella, her husband at the time, during his 27 years in prison as a consequent of his fight against the South African apartheid regime. There is a school of thought which contends that, without Winnie’s support, Nelson would not have survived his long prison sentence on Robben Island. 
Early years
Her Xhosa name is Nomzamo. Traditionally Xhosa names carry significance; Nomzamo means "trial". She was born in the village of Bizana, in the Pondo region of what is now South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. She held a number of jobs in various parts of what was then the Bantustan of Transkei, including with the Transkei government, living at various times in Bizana, Shawbury, and Johannesburg.
Despite restrictions on education of blacks during apartheid, her wealthy background allowed her to escape many of the hardships of the period; she earned a degree in social work from the Jan Hofmeyer School in Johannesburg, and subsequently Winniw earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of Witwatersrand, also in Johannesburg.
She emerged as a leading opponent of the white minority rule government during the latter years of her husband's long imprisonment (August 1962 – February 1990). For many of those years she was exiled to the town of Brandfort in the Orange Free State and confined to the area except for the times she was allowed to visit her husband at the prison on Robben Island.
Her  bodyguard, Jerry Richardson, alleged  that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ordered him to abduct and kill 14-year-old ANC activist, James Seipei – otherwise known as Stompie Moeketsi – in January 1989. 
In 1991 she was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault in connection with the death of Moeketsi. Her six-year jail sentence was reduced to a fine on appeal. Winnie’s position is believed to be  that South Africa during the apathied era was in a state of war. The Apahid regime killed many citiczens of all ages, without any question of accountability. 
However, In 1997 Winnie appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Desmond Tutu as chair of the commission recognised her importance in the anti-apartheid struggle but also begged her to say sorry and to admit her mistakes. In a guarded response, she echoed his words, admitting that 'things went horribly wrong' 
During the transition from apartheid she maintained a revolutionary stance with expectation of seing rapid changes for the benefit of those who suffered decades under apathied. Some of her opponents argued that she should adopt a more conciliatory attitude toward the previously dominant white community. 
The Mandelas' 38-year marriage ended in separation (April 1992) and divorce (March 1996). She then adopted the surname Madikizela-Mandela. Appointed deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology in the first post-Apartheid government (May 1994), she was dismissed eleven months later following disagreement.
She remained popular among many ANC radicals, and in December 1993 and April 1997 she was elected president of the ANC Women's League, though she withdrew her candidacy for ANC deputy president at the movement's Mafikeng conference in December 1997.
The weight of the law
She continued to maintain a radical stance and sometimes become impatient with the slow pace of change.  Traps were set to discredit her. On 24 April 2003, she was found guilty on 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft, and her broker, Addy Moolman, was convicted on 58 counts of fraud and 25 of theft. Both had pleaded not guilty to the charges, which related to money taken from loan applicants' accounts for a funeral fund, but from which the applicants did not benefit. Madikizela-Mandela was sentenced to five years in prison 
Shortly after the conviction, she resigned from all leadership positions in the ANC, including her parliamentary seat and the presidency of the ANC Women's League 
In July 2004, an appeal judge of the Pretoria High Court ruled that "the crimes were not committed for personal gain". The judge overturned the conviction for theft but upheld the one for fraud, handing her a three years and six months suspended sentence.
ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe said of Winie’s predicament,  the party would "never turn its back on Winnie" and would "hold her hand in her time of need… Without condoning her misdemeanours, we must acknowledge that she is a victim, she is damaged and hurt . . . When someone is subjected to the kind of consistent persecution and harassment she suffered from the [apartheid] system, something is bound to snap…"We understand that and will always be there for her." 
It is unrealistic for the politically savvy to allow self to entertain the thought that  we have heard the end of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an icon of South African’s modern history. She has been, and is,  pride and joy, and an example of a strong women of conscience, to  women of various ethnicities around the world, particularly those who have had their experiences of challenging injustices of the most foul and, like Winnie, survived.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its mighty waters”. Africa is rich yet Africans are poor. Africa is a Continent whose native population gains no significant benefits from the Nation’s natural resources.
Credit: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, was also consulted

The party would "never turn its back on Winnie" and would "hold her hand in her time of need… Without condoning her misdemeanours, we must acknowledge that she is a victim, she is damaged and hurt . . . When someone is subjected to the kind of consistent persecution and harassment she suffered from the [apartheid] system, something is bound to snap…"We understand that and will always be there for her." - African National Congress (ANC) — Secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela



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