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It’s been over a decade since their marriage imploded (Winnie is alleged to have conducted some extra-marital affairs while Mr. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and she also was alleged to have engaged in some nefarious activities during her ex-husband’s incarceration and when he got out of prison, Mr. Mandela found it impossible to forgive his little Winnie so he divorced her and married another more virtuous woman), but Winnie and Nelson Mandela have managed to stay on good terms, and have been amicably and quietly co-existed in South Africa all these years.
According to some reports, Winnie Mandela even took to dining at his home with his current wife, the former Mozambican first lady, Graca Machal. (The Bellingham Herald). So this was no acrimonious divorce as I previously thought. But it seems that post-divorce, Ms. Winnie Mandela is becoming increasingly and publicly critical of Nelson and his legacy in apartheid cursed South Africa, given that blacks are still “mired in poverty” and whites or Afrikaans are still enjoying the largesse of the spoils of the apartheid government that ruled the nation till Mr. Mandela was elected the country’s first Black president in 1994.
While she fell into disfavor following her now ex-husband’s release from prison, Ms. Mandela is said to be regaining favor with the youth of South Africa, and with her party, the African National Congress (“ANC”). And one of the reasons is that post-divorce, she is basically coming out and calling Nelson Mandela a traitor to blacks. She is quoted in the Bellingham Herald as saying:
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said she could not forgive him for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 alongside F.W. De Klerk, according to Tuesday’s Evening Standard, a British newspaper. The white president released Mandela and went on to participate in negotiations that ended apartheid.
“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.”
I never did understand how Mr. Mandela could have turned his back on Winnie. Sure, she must have been imperfect and I am certain she found herself in a situation in apartheid South Africa where it was not always possible to do what was absolutely above board. There is a reason they say “all is fair in love and war.” But I remember as a youngster coming up how Winnie was so vocal in keeping Nelson’s name alive and keeping the world on the pulse of the injustices of not only what happened to her husband and his associates, but what was happening to the people of South Africa in the racist apartheid regime. It is through her that I even knew the word “apartheid.” I remember all those rallies I would see on TV with her fist pumping and getting everybody worked up and chanting Mandela’s name. It was truly show-stopping, made my heart race, gave me goose bumps, the whole nine. And when he was released, OMG. It was unlike anything else I had ever lived through up to that point in my personal history.
And then he dumped her? He dumped her? He picked up and married someone else? Are you serious? I was puzzled. Shocked. And I remain so. As a woman, I have never, with all due respect, forgiven Mr. Mandela for that. Now you are telling me he did this because she committed infidelities? I mean, it would have been nice if she could have curbed her natural urges for 27 years. It would have been noble if she could have been a nun who lived in self-induced celibacy till she turned grey. But my gosh! Twenty seven years?! A woman does have her needs, you know. Ten years I could see. But twenty seven? And he expected her to remain faithful physically? What did he think she was for chrissakes? A fish? As for those “nefarious” activities. I mean, let’s just get real. Let’s wake up and smell the coffee you bloody puritannical hypocrites. Are you kidding me? Winnie was the one held accountable for “nefarious activities” in apartheid South Africa?
As for her post-divorce “rants”, look, if things are still not kosher in South Africa and people are still mired in poverty and separatism on account of the outward covering of flesh they came to the planet with? I am all for ranting. Somebody’s got to rant. It is the only way to get anything changed. Historically, it’s the only way.
Go Winnie! M A N D E L A!