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Nelson Rolihlahla "Tata" Mandela: The Black Pimpernel: A Part Of Us Died With Him - Without Him-Aluta Kontinua-Amandla!

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Mandela and Winnie in a victory March when he left Pollsmoor Prison

Mandela and Winnie-When Hope Was Revamped and Kept Alive

Mandela and Winnie-When Hope Was Revamped and Kept Alive

Mandela: The Man In Our Eyes

Many Young Men in Mzantsi grew up to love and become boxers as a means of enjoying sport and asserting our manhood and developing our skills in self defense

Many Young Men in Mzantsi grew up to love and become boxers as a means of enjoying sport and asserting our manhood and developing our skills in self defense

nelson-rolihlahla-tata-mandela-the-scarlet-pimpernel-a-part-of-us-died-with-him-without-him-aluta-kontinua

Our Manhood - Our first African President Of Mzantsi(South Africa)

Nelson Rolihlahla "Tata' Mandela passed away today on the 5th of December, 2013, peacefully. He has now joined the pantheon of our erstwhile, sterling and dedicated giants of our struggle alongside leaders like Shaka, Kreli, Moshweshwe, Hints, Faku, Manthatisi, Moselekatse(Mzilikazi), Sekhukhuni, Sekonyela, Bambata, Makana, Luthuli, Jabavu, Mda, Sofasoke Mpanza, Sobukwe, Biko, Tiro, and many others too many to list here.

Mandela did not not stand over and above all the leaders that were mentioned above, but incorporated all what they stood for and fought for the the people of Mzantsi. Built-in into his leadership make-up was a duality that characterized him throughout his life. For us the African people Of Mzantsi, he was known as Mandela(before he went was incarcerated for 27 years in Robben Island.

To the world, he was the best of what we as the people of Mzantsi could offer of the best in all of us. The world loved and respected him for all the qualities befitting a "World King". To us in Mzantsi, he was the best Chief/King and hope of our fears, dread and freedom. We could harldly boast to the the Boers about him, but we, as the kids of the time, knew him to be the leader that was banned from our lives for close to three decades.

He was a cultural Father(Tata) and bearer of our traditions and Customs and an intellectual figure in our hearts and minds that could not be locked up(even though he was exiled into some remote Island off the coast of South Africa); to the world he was an untouchable spirit with true grit, determination and sage ways of handling his detractors and speeches and his incarcerated physical being. Even though a dark and seemingly permanent cloud hung over our heads during his absence, his fighting for us the Africans of Mzantsi was constant and permanent Ray and Light, Hope, Inspiration, Determination, Intelligence , Culture and Customary Continuity, plus Freedom.

There has been much written and said about Mandela, from the days of his struggles in South Africa, up to the time of his life in Orlando West, South Africa, to the time when the CIA helped to get him captured and his being sentenced to Robben Island where he survived for 27 years breaking stones in a quarry nearby bis cell. In Robben Island, he kept the spirits of those arrested with him alive and hopeful, and he doled out the idea that they were going to be free one day.

When the Boers wanted to dehumanize and make us less of men and women, the very thought that he was alive in some teeny-weenie cell, and not dead, meant that we were alive. He spent 18 of his 27 years on Robben Island, and the rest in the prison now known as Pollsmoor. He personified our Manhood and Womanhood. We never saw his pictures nor heard any of his speeches throughout his life that he was jailed.

Even his gaolers got to respect the man and his dignified comportment even under stressful prison condition where they, the Boers, wanted to break him down and make him feel like he was a "boy". This "Boy" tagging of African men in South Africa, was one of the many ways the Apartheid ensured our permanent enslavement and breakdown. We never knew Mandela, and he lived in the adjacent Township of the one I lived in in Orlando West. His Township was called Orlando West, and his house was one and the same as the rest(three roomed house) that Apartheid had built for us.

We grew up with his daughters who had this unusual stigma that they were the children of Mandela, but we partied with them all over the township gigs and festivals. In many cases, they lived in fear, but, we, and most of my cohorts, who were the cadre of the 1976 Student Rebellion of Soweto(see my Hub on this era), did not give a rats-ass as to the Securitas(BOSS-Beureau Of State Security) who were a constant thorn on Winnie and her children's side, and we just kept a normal relationship with them. We knew the risks involved, but we were the fearless fighters who eventually brought the rule of Apartheid and down to its knees.

What Madela meant to us as the Africans of Mzantsi, is what this whole Hub is going to be about. As I have stated at the beginning, there has been much written about him and that is still going to be written about Mandela, but, I have chosen to take tact of talking about Mandela as we grew and got to know, talk, albeit in hush-hush tone, lest the goons of BOSS overheard us, in our various communities throughout Soweto, and the whole of South Africa. But, before I talk about the Mandela that we as Africans knew, I would like to give a quick history/story timeline of the man we got to know and call "Tata", after he was released from Prison. He was truly our African Manhood and Leader/First African President Of South Africa.

Rolihlahla Mandela

Winnie And Nelson Mandela's House/Home in Orlando West

Winnie And Nelson Mandela's House/Home in Orlando West

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, center, holding the hand of her son, the late Makgatho Mandela, and family walk out of Victor Verster Prison after visiting her husband Nelson Mandela. Mandela spent the last three of his 27 years behind bars at Victor Vers

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, center, holding the hand of her son, the late Makgatho Mandela, and family walk out of Victor Verster Prison after visiting her husband Nelson Mandela. Mandela spent the last three of his 27 years behind bars at Victor Vers

The village of Qunu, Eastern Cape, where Nelson Mandela grew up and where his mother founded a Methodist church in the 1960s.

The village of Qunu, Eastern Cape, where Nelson Mandela grew up and where his mother founded a Methodist church in the 1960s.

Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu in the prison courtyard on Robben Island.

Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu in the prison courtyard on Robben Island.

Nelson Mandela - A Timeline of his life

NELSON Mandela's passion and commitment to the freedom of his people meant a life of struggle and determination - and inspired millions around the world.

1918
July 18- Rolihlahla Mandela (later Nelson) is born at Mvezo in the Transkei, South Africa. His isiXhosa name, given by his father, formally means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but colloquially means “troublemaker”. His family is descended from Thembu royalty.

1925
Attends a local primary mission school near Qunu, where he is given the name ‘Nelson’ by a teacher.

1930
His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, dies and Thembu paramount chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo becomes his guardian.

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1934
Aged 16, he undergoes initiation, the traditional Xhosa rite of passage into manhood. He is given the name Dalibhunga, which means “creator or founder of the council” or “convenor of the dialogue”. Attends Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo.

1934
Meets his lifelong friend Oliver Tambo, who later becomes president of the African National Congress (ANC).

1937
Attends Healdtown, the Wesleyan College at Fort Beaufort. It is here that Mandela learns boxing, a sport he becomes passionate about.

1939
Enrols at the University College of Fort Hare, in Alice to study for a Bachelor of Arts. Elected to the Student representative Council.

1940
Expelled from University College for political activism. Continues his studies by correspondence.

1941
Escapes an arranged marriage by running away to Johannesburg, where he becomes a mine night watchman. Starts articles at the law firm Witkin, Sidelsky & Eidelman. Meets Walter Sisulu, who later becomes a senior ANC figure.

1942
Completes his BA through the University of South Africa.

1942
Begins to attend ANC meetings informally.

1943
Graduates with BA from Fort Hare. Enrols for a Bachelor of Law at Wits University.

1944
Co-founds the ANC Youth League. Marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase, with whom he has four children: Thembekile (1945); Makaziwe (1947, dies aged nine months); Makgatho (1950) and Makaziwe (1954).

1948
Elected national secretary of the ANC Youth League, which gradually gains power of the ANC. Three years later, he is elected president of the league.

1952
The Defiance Campaign – large-scale demonstrations which flout apartheid laws – begins. Mandela is charged for violating the Suppression of Communism Act. He is sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for two years. Opens South Africa’s first black law firm with Oliver Tambo.

1955
The Congress of the People, which consolidated anti-apartheid forces in South Africa, adopts the Freedom Charter, a vision for a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

1956
The government arrests 156 people, including Mandela and most of the ANC executive, in response to the Freedom Charter, and puts them on trial for treason. After a five-year trial, all are acquitted.

1958
Divorces Evelyn Mase. Marries Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela. They have two daughters: Zenani (1959) and Zindzi (1960).

1960
March 21 - At least 69 people are killed, and between 150 and 300 injured, in Sharpeville when police open fire on demonstrator protesting against laws which require blacks to carry a pass whenever thy are outside designated areas. The incident becomes know as the Sharpeville Massacre and signals the beginning of armed resistance against apartheid.

1960
March 30 - In the wake of the Sharpeville Massacre, a State of Emergency is imposed and 18,000 people detained. Among them is Nelson Mandela. A week later, the ANC is banned.

1961
The Treason Trial collapses and Mandela goes underground. He helps form the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the armed wing of the now-banned ANC.

1962
January 11 - Leaves South Africa for military training and to garner support for the ANC.

August 5 - Arrested near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal. Sentenced to five years for incitement and leaving the country illegally.

1963
Sent to prison on Robben Island. Brought back to Pretoria in July for the Rivonia sabotage trial with nine others after the MK headquarters are discovered.

1964
June 11-12
Mandela is convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He is held at Robben Island, and later at Pollsmoor Prison.

1969
Mandela’s son Thembekile dies in a car accident. Mandela is not permitted to go to his funeral.

1985
Rejects South African President P.W. Botha’s offer to release him if he renounces violence. Has prostate surgery.

1988
December 7 - Is transferred to Victor Verster Prison where he spends the last 14 months of his imprisonment.

1990
February 2 - In the wake of sanctions and unrest, the ANC is “unbanned”, first by a people’s proclamation, then by the government under President de Klerk.

1990
February 11 - Mandela is released from prison after 27 years. Holding the hand of wife Winnie, he gives the gathered crowd a victory salute, then travels to Cape Town, where he speaks to a rally of 50,000 people. “Our march to freedom is irreversible," he tells them. Soon after, he is elected deputy president of the ANC.

1993
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with F.W. de Klerk "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."

1994
South Africa’s first democratic elections held. On April 27, at the age of 75, Mandela is permitted to vote for the first time in his life. The date is now celebrated as Freedom Day in South Africa.

May 9 -10
Unanimously elected the first president of a democratic South Africa. “Never, never again will this beautiful land experience the oppression of one by another,” he declares at his inauguration.

1996
Divorces Winnie Mandela after 48 years of marriage.

1998
July 18 - Marries humanitarian and Zimbabwean politician Graça Machel, the wife of the late Mozambican president Samora Machel. The wedding takes place on his 80th birthday.

1999
Steps down after one term as president. "I am the product of Africa and her long-cherished view of rebirth that can now be realised so that all of her children may play in the sun," he says in his final speech.

2004
June 1 - Mandela announces he will step down from public life.

2005
January 6 - Mandela announces his eldest son Makgatho has died of complications from AIDS.

2008
Turns 90, and asks the emerging generation to continue the fight for social justice.

2010
Is formally presented with the FIFA World Cup trophy before it embarks on a tour of South Africa. His great-granddaughter Zenani is killed in a car accident.

Mandela's aids call for a halt to the thousands of requests for autographs, endorsements and interviews so his retirement can be a time for peace and tranquility.

2011
January - Is admitted to hospital with a chest infection

June - Is visited at home by American First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia

2012
February - Spends one night in hospital with abdominal complaint

December - Three-week stay in hospital to treat lung infection and for surgery to extract gallstones.

2013
March 10 - Admitted to hospital for routine, age-related medical check.

March 28 - Re-admitted to hospital with recurrent lung infection.

March 30-31 - Responding to treatment well.

April 1 - Doctors in Pretoria removed pleural fluid from his lungs to ease his breathing
April 7 - Discharged from hospital

May 1 - First photos of Mandela in nine months appear.

(Sources: Nelson Mandela Foundation; africanhistory.about.com; http://www.freedom.co.za/madiba.html; www.anc.org.za; nobelprize.org)

The historical timeline above has been presented here as a shorthand for the readers to get a glimpse to the life and times of Mandela over the decades.

Pixley ka Seme

Pixley ka Seme

Anton Lembede

Anton Lembede

Walter Sisulu

Walter Sisulu

Dr. James Moroka

Dr. James Moroka

Albert Luthuli

Albert Luthuli

Moses Kotane

Moses Kotane

J.B. Marks

J.B. Marks

Yusuf Dadoo

Yusuf Dadoo

Robert Sobukwe

Robert Sobukwe

A.P. Mda's Graduation(One On Left)

A.P. Mda's Graduation(One On Left)

Walter Sisulu Square: At one end of the building, where the V-shape meets, is the Walter Sisulu monument. Walter Sisulu was a South African anti-apartheid activitst and member of the African National Congress (ANC) along with Nelson Mandela and Olive

Walter Sisulu Square: At one end of the building, where the V-shape meets, is the Walter Sisulu monument. Walter Sisulu was a South African anti-apartheid activitst and member of the African National Congress (ANC) along with Nelson Mandela and Olive

Dr. J. Sebe Moroka

Dr. J. Sebe Moroka

The ANC and The formation of PAC Brief History

In order for us to have a much more better picture of Mandela and his actions and protests in South Africa, we need to look back into the history of events and people/leaders that shaped his leadership. This is when we come across a leader called Pixley ka Seme, who in 1912 had graduated from Columbia in 1912 as a lawyer, and Oxford, was evidently inspired by the NAACP in America, and decided that he wanted to do the same for South Africa.

He came back to Johannesburg to set up his practice, and was rudely brought back to the harsh realities of the lives of Africans, after he had gotten used to life overseas, which had afforded him relative openness. In Johannesburg, the White people required that he carry his pass book everywhere he travelled, and he had to travel third class, and had to step off the pavement into the street in order to allow a White person the run of the sidewalk.

Seme and several black lawyers who had also studied overseas decided to take action. They invited African leaders from allover the country to a big meeting in Bloemfontein. Some of the arrivals were the traditional chiefs, while others were organizers from the small emerging class of African professionals.

"We have discovered," Seme told the assembly, "that in the land of our birth, we Africans were treated as the 'hewers of wood and drawers of water'. The White people of this country have formed what is known as the Union of South Africa-a union in which we have no voice in making of laws and no part in their administration.

"We have called you, therefore, to this conference so that we can together devise ways and means of forming our national unity and defending our rights and privileges." The gathering enthusiastically voted to form an organization that would come to be called the African National Congress. "We felt wonderfully optimistic," one delegate said. To us, freedom was only around the corner."

In actions akin to that of the NAACP, the ANC intellectuals and professionals sought to win improved conditoins for Africans through patient petition and lobbying campaigns. ANC delegations travelled to Britain and to the post-World War I peace conference at Versalles to try to win International support. The organization held itself aloof from the African masses and their actions like the 1919 antipass campaign, the 1943 bus boycott in Johannesburg's Alexander Township,or the big 1946 mineworkers strikes.

In 1944, a new generation of young men, who had recently arrived in Johannesburg, founded the ANC's Youth League. Nelson Mandela, who was of the Xhosa Royalty, and a lawyer, along with Oliver Tambo, a high school science teacher, later took law too, set up their practice in Johannesburg with Mandela.

Walter Sisulu, who was thirty at the time, and few years older than both his compatriots, was working in the mines, and a s kitchen servant, and also in the factories; he was a proud and independent man, and regularly clashed with his White authorities, and in the end set up his own real estate enterprise. Then there was Lembede, who was then their unofficial leader, who was a driven and incandescent intellectual. Lembede was a son of a farm laborer,who had worked himself to death at the age of thirty-three.

The Youth Leaguers argued that the ANC had to become more militant, more involved in nationwide mass protest. They charged the organization with 'regarding itself as a body of gentlemen with clean hands': They demanded a more vigorous movement to resist the National Party, which came to power in 1948 promising to reinforce the existing system of racial domination with the even more stern and comprehensive policy of Apartheid.

In 1949, the Youth Leaguers persuaded the ANC convention to approve their Program of Action, which called for strikes, civil disobedience and noncooperation with any member of the regime's institutions. The younger members also replaced the organization's president-general with a more activist candidatePresident, an Orange Free State Doctor named James Moroka, and they elected their own Walter Sisulu, as secretary General.

The ANC moved toward closer alliances with other groups menaced by the stream of Apartheid legislation issued forth from the Nationalist-dominated Parliament. It cooperated with the Indian Congresses and with sympathetic Whites, including some who had belonged to the Communist Party before the regime outlawed it in 1950.

As mass support for the ANC grew, the movement decided to conduct a Defiance Campaign during the 1952. All over the country, Africans, Indians, and some Whites promised to openly and deliberately break certain Aparthedi statutes. The program of mass nonviolent civil disobedience was clearly in the Ghandhian tradition. Mahatma Ghandhi's own son, Manilal, who had remained in South Africa after his father returned to india, was one of the defiers.

Dr. James Njongwe, an ANC leader in the Eastern Cape, where the Defiance was to begin on June 26, emphasized that only disciplined volunteers who had been enrolled by volunteer-in-chief Nelson Mandela or others should participate in the campaign. Dr. Njongwe asked for people who would "submit to arrest willingly and with gladness in the hearts, knowing that theirs was a fight against malnutrition, high infantile mortality, landlessness, deprivation, humiliation, oppression, and against destruction of family life and faith in Christianity as a way of life."

This movement in South Africa used the "Europeans Only" facilities, remained in the center of the cities after the evening curfew for Africans, and entered the "Group Areas" reserved for other "population groups." People in South Africa and the world watched as the singing volunteers marched and walked into jails. By the end of the year, around eighty-five hundred had submitted to areest. The ANC's membership soared to one hundred thousand.

The Apartheid government struck back harshly. It used the classic definition of Communism in its Suppression of Communism Act to ban fifty-two ANC leaders including Nelson Mandela. The regime also passed new penalties for defiance. So that in the end, civil disobedience, and other trivial offenses, were punishable by up to three or five years imprisonment.

In 1956, there was further crackdown; the Apartheid regime arrested 156 leaders of the ANC and other resistance organizations and put them on trial for treason. The case of the prosecution was so inept and useless that all the defendants were eventually either released or acquitted. And yet, this treason trial dragged on for five years, diverting the energies of key ANC leaders and draining the organization's meager resources.

Albert John Luthuli was ANC's President-general, a deeply religious teacher in his fifties, and a hereditary chief of the Zulus, was deposed by the regime as punishment for him leading the Natal ANC Defiance campaign. Luthuli was an imposing man, vey patient and tolerant even to his adversaries. In 1961, he was recognized for his humanity and courage and the way he led his organization that in the end he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, and he was the first man in Africa to be honored with the Peace Prize.

So that, throughout the 1950s, the ANC continued to carry out its Defiance campaign by working steadily with the Indian Congresses, the Colored People's Congress, and he Congress of Democrats, composed of a motley crew of White radicals. It was at this time that the people some serious and deep friendships and unity across racial lines, which was in direct contradiction to the philosophy of Apartheid.

Luthuli was asked how he as a Christian could cooperate with the Communists, which over the years had attracted people like Moses Kotane, J.B. Marks, Yusuf Dadoo and Michael Harmel., which had been declared as an illegal party. In his autobiography Luthuli stated: "

"The Congress Stand is this: our primary concern is liberation and we are not going to be side-tracked by ideological clashes and with witch-hunts." He added: "Communists are people, they are among the number of my neighbors, and I will not regard them as less. ... I am confident enough in my Christian faith to believe that I can serve my neighbor best by remaining in his company."

In 1955, the congress Alliance met at Kliptown, a slum area in Soweto, to draw up the Freedom Charter. the Charter declared that 'South Africa belongs to all who live in it, African or European.' It promised to repeal all Apartheid legislation and replace it with one man one vote and guaranteed Human Rights for all. the Charter also called for social welfare measures in education, housing and so forth.

The only section the West regarded as radical was a pledge to 'nationalize the mineral wealth, the banks, and 'monopoly industry.' But these measures with a promise of land reform, remained vague, at best. And it is ironic today that the ANC has contravened all what the Freedom Charter stood for. This is discussed in some of my Hubs that can be found on ixwa.hub.com.

The PAC(Pan Africanist Congress), disputed the Charter's first sentence. They sated that it is bent and designed toward multiracialism, they were opposed to. In their view(PAC) South africa "belonged" to "Africans", who had to "go it alone" in their struggle for liberation. The most not much known leader in the West and world, but very well-known and liked(more than Mandela) inside South Africa, were both Sofasonke Mpanza[The Father Of Modern Soweto] and Robert Sobukwe.

Robert Sobukwe defined an African as:

"Anyone who owes his loyalty to Africa, who is prepared to accept the democratic rule of the African majority. And his followers characterized anyone not African as foreigners but one who was in South Africa to weaken the authenticity of African nationalism and nationalist with alien ideologies that had limited appeal to the African masses."

This is one part that one needs to write a Hub on because this debate is still going on, now, just as furiously and not yet resolved in South Africa today, amongst the African people.

PAC finally broke away from the ANC and formed PAC with its military wing know as "Poqo". They accused the ANC of being too timid, and they pointed out as to how the ANC lost many battles against Apartheid. They stated that it was unable to stop the introduction of Bantu education or to save Sophiatown, an African town west of Johannesburg City, from being leveled and destroyed...

In 1956, 20,000 women marched to Pretoria, and the regime disdainfully ignored their petitions and extended the vicious pass laws to women, too.. The PAC was quick in realizing the dissatisfaction and the action of the masses, and blasted the ANC for its failure to even support the protest women, and was more inclined and well-tuned to the events that were happening north of South Africa in the African continent and, was buoyed by such revolutions, and PAC was more prepared for radical and militant action against the Boers.

In 1960 both organization, ANC and PAC, declared war against the Pass Laws of Apartheid. the problem with PAC, despite it militant tone, they opted for nonviolent approach to their declaration of war against the passes. That is when Sharpeville happened and sixty-nine people were killed.

There was such a reaction that 30,000, in Cape town marched from the African Townships in protest. The Boers sensed that there was a mood of insurrection, and two weeks later the Apartheid regime outlawed the PAC and ANC. Luthuli was banned and restricted to his house.

Mandela and Sobukwe were arrested(A special law was passed specifically for Sobukwe by the Boers and named after him); Mandela was also arrested and sent to Robben Island. Both organizations fled to Exile, and were not able to return until the 1976 student revolution made it possible for the to come back in 1992 - Mandela got released - Sobukwe died alone in his house under house arrest-and the ANC came into power in 1994.

In the latter par of this Hub, I will return to this historical discourse about how it fits into contemporary South Africa today.

Rolihalhala

Tata

Tata

Dislodging Apartheid in south Africa

The First victim of the Apartheid regime in the 1976 Students revolt - Hector Peterson

The First victim of the Apartheid regime in the 1976 Students revolt - Hector Peterson

The Price Of Freedom and Hopelessness of Liberation

When Winnie and Mandela walked hand in hand after his release from doing 18 years of hard labor in Robben Island, and the rest in Pollsmoor prison, the African people of Mzantsi were in a delirium. The euphoria was so intoxicating that the African peoples expectations reached fever pitch. There was general disbelief and unmatched and shocking disbelief that eventually apartheid had relented to majority rule. The people ended up Voting on what was called Freedom day, and for three days with the longest celebrations ever seen in the history and memory of the country.

Many people envisioned themselves going to live in the suburbs, getting better jobs, and reaching the nadir of the lives beyond their wildest dreams. If one or anyone who reads this Hub, has ever been interned in a society that created concentration camps called Townships, akin to the Nazi-types in Germany, one can just imagine the feeling of the Africans of South Africa, who after 400+ years of separate development and Apartheid- the spirit of the oppressed was at long last free in the land of their birth. Mandela held more than hope and promise, and after the vote, people watched in aching anticipation for the change to manifest itself in real terms.

The road to this moment had been long in coming, and the people knew that it was now their time, their county and their government that was going to deliver their expectations and that better and good times lay ahead. This event did not just happen from a vacuum. It had been a long and arduous, painful and tearful struggle to get to 1994.

Too many had died, been tortured and chased into exile for this dream of freedom and self governance to be realized. Although the Africans knew that things will never be the same as before the coming of the colonists, the future was pregnant with hope, for them. With possibilities and a chance to be humans in a land where they were the carriers of water and hewers of wood for the betterment of White people. Now it was their turn to be the masters of their own destiny. Mandela was their entrance in the looming 21st century that was just ahead, and it was no more beyond their reach.

On the other hand, there was the return of the exiles who were received with all the hoopla one can muster into one's imagination. The exiles who were spread throughout the world were not so sure that they would be able to return to South Africa; they had been in Exile since the sixties, seventies and eighties. And in their stay in the refugee camps throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and some paltry few in the USA, they suffered from home-sickness, and those in Africa were subjected to murderous raids by the Apartheid regime. Many of them were butchered and murdered without any mercy shown to them by the regime. As for returning home, that was not within their immediate purview.

Those who fled the country into exile after the Sharpeville massacres and mass incarcerations by the Apartheid regime, had suffered devastating defeat in their efforts trying to return to South Africa in the late sixties in what was known as the Wankie Wars. The Rhodesian Smith regime, in concert with the South african Army, killed them off in their efforts to 'Trek" back into South Africa. In Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique. Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, many were living in fear for their lives that the Apartheid murderous defense force incursions into these countries in pursuit and effort to eliminate the ANC exiled African South Africans was relentless and constant.

This was the time when the South African Defense Force was engaged in Wars in Angola, against the MPLA and SWAPO Guerillas. It was at this time that the Forces of Mugabe and Nkomo were engaged in their wars against Smith in Rhodesia(now Zimbabwe). Also, that was the time when Machel overthrew the Portuguese in Mozambique, and we began to see the formation of Renamo, and in Angola, the reactionary Counterrevolutionary Savimbi and his UNITA thugs was reigning terror on the MPLA and the ANC cadres.

The whole part of southern Africa was in turmoil and at War with the Boers of South Africa. Cuba intervened in Angola and in Quito Carvavale, defeated the South African helped by Swapo and the ANC Mkhonto Guerillas. Chester Crocker and Reagan came with what they termed Costructive Engagement, which failed to halt the fall of Apartheid in these wars.

Meanwhile, the ANC people were never at ease whilst all these wars were continuing. Thatcher and the USA called the ANC a terrorist organization and tried to block the sanctions against Apartheid. Disinvestment became the primary weapon hurled against the regime, and the regime of South Africa was becoming even more recalcitrant/belligerent and was dubbed the 'pariah' of the world.

Meanwhile in South Africa, another fight was developing. Workers went on rolling strikes of the 1970s. Black Consciousness was on the rise and their leader, Bantu Steven Biko was ultimately cowardly murdered by the South African police, and this led to a serious turn of events against the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

This then led to the 1976 Soweto Students Revolt, wherein the school children of South Africa stood up against the mighty Apartheid regime using rocks and fire to fight.(See my Hub published called: "African south Africans and June 16th 1976 Revolt: Sad Times, Bad Times - Aluta Kontinua, AMANDLA! POWER!".)

Whist all this was taking place, Mandela was languishing in prison, and the ANC on the defense in Exile. They Youth of African students in South Africa stood up, alone, and faced the Apartheid ogre. This resulted in the crippling and dismantling of the Apartheid regime as we used to know it prior to 1976. This laid ground for the release of Mandela and the coming to power to the ANC in 1994.

A Peek at the results of the 1994 elections in south Africa

Following a series of tense negotiations and years of liberation struggle, the first democratic election was held in South Africa on the 27th April, 1994. This election changed the history of South Africa. It paved the way towards a new democratic dispensation and a new constitution for the country. For the first time all races in the country were going to the polls to vote for a government of their choice. Nineteen political parties participated and twenty-two million people voted. The election took place in a festive atmosphere, contrary to fears of political violence. The African National Congress (AANC) won the election with 62.65 % of the vote. The National Party (NP) received 20.39 %, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 10.54 %, Freedom Front (FF) 2.2 %, Democratic Party (DP) 1.7 %, Pan African Congress (PAC) 1.2 % and the African Christian Democratic Party 0.5 %. Although the ANC gained a majority vote, they formed the Government of National Unity, headed by the ANC’s Nelson Mandela) who became the first black President of the country. (South African History Online)

The Day Democracy and Voting Came To South Africa

Voting in progress

Voting in progress

South Africa Voting Mandela into Power in south Africa's First election where Africans were casting their votes

South Africa Voting Mandela into Power in south Africa's First election where Africans were casting their votes

Mandela casting his vote

Mandela casting his vote

Victory and Utopia; Distopia and Dysfunction

I will excerpt some thoughts and ideas from an article that was written by B. Makhosezwe Magubane who pointed out that:

On August 18, In a speech to Parliament Mr. Mandela declared:

At the end of the day, the yardstick that we shall all be judged by is one and only one, and that is: are we, through our endeavours here, creating the basis to better the lives of all South Africans? This is not because the people have some subjective expectations fanned during an election campaign. Neither is it because there is a magic wand that they see in the new government. Millions have suffered deprivation for decades and they have the right to seek redress. They fought and voted for change; and change the people of South- Africa must have.

He went on to remind the House: 'We have forged an enduring national consensus on the interim constitution and the broad objectives of reconstruction and development. This consensus is neither an imposition of one party over others, nor a honeymoon premised on fickle whims of a fleeting romance. What brings us together is the overriding commitment to a joint national effort to reconcile our nation and to improve its well being.' He hoped that with the climate of national consensus having been created and the machinery of government in place, it would not be long before the benefits of democracy would begin to be realised.

Mandela inherited a violent society where, according to some estimates, 15,000 people had died in politically motivated factional fighting. In the month leading to the elections, more than 30 people were killed in the East Rand Townships of Thokoza and Voloorus, and in Natal over a hundred were reported dead. On March 28, violence came to downtown Johannesburg, brought by Inkatha followers who marched to Shell House where the ANC has its headquarters. On Sunday, 24 April, a car bomb exploded in downtown Johannesburg, killing 11 people; and destroying buildings in a two square mile area.In his victory speech President Mandela said:

Tomorrow the entire ANC leadership and I will be back at our desks. We are rolling our sleeves to begin tackling the problems our country faces. We ask you all to join us, go back to your jobs in the morning. Lets get South Africa working ... This means creating jobs, building houses, providing education and bringing peace and security to all. This is going to be the acid test of the government of national unity. We have emerged as the majority party on the basis of the program which is contained in the reconstruction and development programme. There we have outlined the steps that we are going to take in order to ensure a better life for all South Africans.

Apartheid did not just mean political exclusion, it was also an economic system of extreme economic exploitation[Slavery]. As a consequence South Africa faces institutionalised inequalities that are deeply rooted. Africans are among the poorest people in the world compared to the white population of the country. The catalogue of economic inequalities is inexhaustible. Padraig O'Malley (1994: 69), a senior associate at the John W. McCornack Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Massachusetts writes that:

South Africa has one of the most unequal distributions of income in the world. Three- quarters of the people receive only 30 percent of the income. Average white incomes are 13 times those of the black labour force; 60 percent of blacks live below the poverty level; 50 percent of the black labour force cannot find jobs in the formal sector of the economy. Inequality between urban and rural blacks is also very great, with up to 4 to 1 differences in income levels. Inequality in the distribution of income is reinforced by inequalities in the distribution of social spending. State spending per capita is five times as much for whites as it is for blacks. White pensions are twice as much as those of blacks, etc..

Then there is the land question, which lies at the heart of all South Africa's problems. The 1913 Land Act gave 13.7 percent of the land to Africans who constitute more than 75 percent of the population. Much of the land in the reserves where Africans are confined, has become degraded through overgrazing and erosion. White farmers, meanwhile, enjoy subsidies, in the form of both credit and tax breaks. Worse still, many white farmers have over-borrowed. In 1993, the Development Bank of Southern Africa put the number of hopelessly indebted farmers at around 3,000, responsible for farming about 4m hectares (10m acres) (cf. The Economist 08.29.94).

The case for radical economic restructuring is undeniable if the process of political transition is to be successful. Speaking at Clark Atlanta University in 1993, President Mandela underlined the fact of African impoverishment:

While providing the rights associated with democracy, our constitution should also create the basis for an expanding floor of entitlements so as to accord every citizen that measure of dignity intrinsic to being human. A democratic constitution must address the issues of poverty, inequality, deprivation and want in accordance with the internationally recognized standards of the indivisibility of human rights. A vote without food, shelter, and health care would be to create the appearance of equality while actual inequality is entrenched. We do not want freedom without bread, nor do we want bread without freedom.

The question is: can a humane society be built on the basis of capitalism? An examination of the political economy of South African capitalism reveals how it was built on the foundations of racial exploitation and oppression. The fact that racism is deeply implicated with class exploitation in the South African political economy raises the ultimate question: can racism be overcome without transcending the structural constraints of capitalism as a system?

In the short term, SA's battle to deal with social demands are geared more than elsewhere, although 'observers of Eastern Europe, Mexico, Brazil or the Korean peninsula know that political risk is not peculiar to Africa'. On the political front the EIU report finds the ANC's aims are 'unrealistic' because 'no serious effort was made to quantify the cost' of the reconstruction programme. Full employment will push the budget into substantial deficit - well over the 6% of gross domestic product agreed with the IMF - and created the long-term risk of dragging SA into a debt trap.

And while there is a general agreement on the need to reduce inequalities in SA, the redistribution has to be done in a way which will not endanger the 'first world economy' or frighten off investments, worsening the capital flight and producing the exodus of domestic skills. At the same time SA cannot afford the luxury of gradual change. The EIU warns of a 'turbulent and difficult period' ahead as the country manages a 'multi-faceted transformation'. Its markets will be open to new competition and technologies while at the same time more broadly diversified exports 'must take off if a medium term balance of payments crisis is avoided'.

In tandem government will force the pace of change in industrial relations, affirmative action, social investment and anti-trust legislation. Corporate structures, culture and strategies have to be re-engineered to deal with the political and economic challenges. 'These ... must be achieved within two to three years' . From this sober assessment of the challenges facing South Africa, it is obvious that in pursuing its objectives, the ANC must have fortitude and the skills to manage internal and external problems. It will not be easy.

Tata and Winnie Embraced and Enveloped by the African Masses

In the Great and Good Times Just After His Release, Winnie and Mandela hand-in=in=hand and waving "power fists to the Crowds

In the Great and Good Times Just After His Release, Winnie and Mandela hand-in=in=hand and waving "power fists to the Crowds

Unseen Episodes

Robben Island: Political prisoner: Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island in Cape Town's Table Bay

Robben Island: Political prisoner: Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island in Cape Town's Table Bay

Mandela and child hugging

Mandela and child hugging

Mandela's cell in Robben Island

Mandela's cell in Robben Island

Mandela An His African People Of Mzantsi

This is truly a loss for the people of Mzantsi, that is, the death and passing of one of the most important leaders and men in our history as the people of South Africa. We watched in silence as he began to rule over us, and he spoke many things, and met with every conceivable leader in the world.

When we were children, it was very dangerous to sing the African National Anthem, it was also risking limb and life talking about Mandela or having thoughts about him or having his picture on the wall of ones house. Apartheid effectively made it a crime to even read anything said or written anything about him. There was a total blackout about his existence, yet we knew that he was in gaol in Robben Island.

Just because the Boers made such a serious effort to blank him out of sight and mind, it was the more so they reinforced him our psyche and consciousness. We never learnt or read nor talked about him in our schools or anywhere else-except surreptitiously in the underground with our cohorts.

When he went to Jail in the sixties, some of us were kids in the lower primaries of school. We knew about Verwoerd and we also knew when Tsafendas assassinated him in Parliament-silently we exhaled. We were also at hand to know that one of the Kennedy's came around to our country-and got to know that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. But we were never allowed to see his(Mandela's) photo nor hear any discussions about him in any for of media or rallies and so on.

So it was, when he came out from prison in Pollsmoor walking with Winnie hand-in-hand, what to us came to mean we were free on that joyous occasion and day. This was one of the most iconic and capturing/alluring picture which erased our nightmares and blanked memories of him and his wife brought back to live in real time.

This, as I have said, talking or deploying picots of Mandela and his wife along with the essay emblems and symbols, was taboo and could get one killed. Now, in 1990, there he was, fist-pumping with his wife, whom we knew to be a vey revolutionary and fist pumping woman(Winnie), especially during the the 1976 students revolts, and now we were seeing it[freedom] live, both of them reassuringly pumping their fists, which to many of us confirmed our power and the future filled with revolutionary fervor and promise.

This was before the Corporate octopuses embraced and swallowed Mandela and kept him away from the people, and we watched in wonder and puzzlement as to what really happened to our leader. This was before the ANC turncoats effectively took the leader off the masses away from view and into the the suburbs of Houghton.

Yes, this was before he left his house in Orlando and moved on upwards and far from the masses that adored him. This, although he still had many who followed him, was to be his fall from grace from the people who posited all the faith, vote and hope in him.

Yes, he made good speeches, delivered good talking points, and made sure certain policies were passed for the benefit of his people, but he soon was gone and out of sight and out of mind, again, from the army of the poor masses in his township and all over the poor enclaves of African South Africans.

People understood that the world wanted to see him since they had helped to fight for his release; they knew that he was to travel all over the world, but they also saw less of him, and when he left and finished his term as the first President, the snobbish Thabo Mbeki took over the reigns which he was less prepared for, and ended being removed in disgrace from the Presidency.

We then had to contend with the hapless Mothlantle as the interim President, then we ended up being stuck with the present buffoon, Zuma, who is just a puppet under remote control from many forces he himself has not been able to fathom. What I am saying is that Mandela was gradually weened away from the people in such a way akin to the ruthless manner he was locked-up in Robben Island by the Apartheid regime.

Our Best; Our Hope; Our Inspiration: Rolihlahla Mandela

Tata "The Black Pimpernel" Mandela A descendant of kings who became the most famous black man in history: Life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, the secular saint who refused to give in to hate'During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle o

Tata "The Black Pimpernel" Mandela A descendant of kings who became the most famous black man in history: Life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, the secular saint who refused to give in to hate'During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle o

The African People's Legit and Just Criticism Of Mandela and the ANC

The Truth And Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me "Dlozi"(Ancestor)

Given that Mandela just past away, and the world is abuzz with his life-story, my responsibility as a historian and a writer who writes Hubs on behalf of the African people of South Africa, I have to write the good and the bad for historical posterity. It is important that as a historian that I record as much of the truth as possible, and let the chips fall where they may. For my part, living with and amongst the Africans of Mzantsi in the Ghetto, there is a lot of consternation and dissatisfaction with the state of the decrepit existence we find ourselves in today.

It is worth noting that the talking points throughout the media at this juncture is about Mandela and his life. My purpose and task is to present the point of view of Africans of South Africa and what they think and how they interacted(if they ever did) with Mandela during his lifetime.

Above I had already presented the view that we, as African people had of Mandela and how we viewed him, or were made to view him and what that meant and how that affected and effected us as a people, was very important. Mandela did not 'free' the Africans of Mzantsi, but it is their sheer bravery and efforts that got him released-he facilitated for their abilities to be able to govern themselves.

When the time to vote for a new government and President, it was the Africans of South Africa who made that possible with the long lines that have become legendary when they first voted the ANC into power. The ANC was the one who chose the President, and in this case, it was a foregone conclusion that Mandela was to become the First African President of a newly created Democratic South Africa.

Although, to his credit, he decided to become a one-time President, he was nonetheless favored and elected with an overwhelming majority of Africa. This type of voting has declined over the years with these election of Mbeki and Zuma, and with the next elections looming in 2014 and especially in 2019, the ANC has seen a reduction in the participation of the voters, and the long lines are no longer the case. But since Mandela left Office, a lot of African people have become disenchanted with the ANC and Mandela too.

For the people to be free as it is purported or stated in their constitution, it is very important that they should be free to voice their displeasure and offer their criticism of anyone, Mandela included. In fact, he too, has noted on one time or another that he really did not do a good job of taking care of his African people. Many people do not live with us nor understand the Africans of South Africa. There is great displeasure and some form of anger to the effect that people are openly stating that Mandela "Sold us out."

Ordinary poor African people are very vocal and the Mandela allure has lost is luster amongst them. They see his children fighting for his accumulated wealth, and the Africans feel that he did much for his children than he did for them and their children. Some of the things that Africans have been saying prior to his death about him and even after he died, is what the world does not really know or records, except in a few occasion, like the one of Winnie below, who, many African South Africans agreed with, and still love her for it.

What many people do not know nor understand about Africans of South Africa is that they hate and dislike quislings, sell-outs and turncoats. That is why when the ANC took over, the Apartheid regime destroyed all its records, and particularly of those who were spying and betraying Africans during their struggle against the Apartheid regime(one can read this account by Ntsebenza and Bell in their Book, "Unfinished Business").

That is why when Winnie told Naipaul that Mandela has betrayed Us, there was a din of fully throttled agreement with her. When she retracted the claim, people knew that she was doing so because the ANC had offered her a seat in Parliament, and all that goes with it for her silence.

We knew that this was the case, but she had already let the cat out of the bag. She had already confirmed and made them aware that Mandela has been brought and he was more interested in the best interest of the White people than that of his people. This claim could not be reversed, and that is why the ANC had acted quickly and silenced Winnie, and we understood the conditions of her silence after all had been said, done and told about Mandela.

The past is still alive in the heads of All Africans who underwent the rigors of Apartheid even up to this day. All these Western talking heads and political wanna-be's really do not get this point. Apartheid lives in our minds and soul. The ANC has sold their struggle and soul for a mere pittance, and the struggle now, since Mandela is gone, is going to continue with much more intensity between the African people of South africa and the ANC. Mandela had acted as a barrier, but now that is gone, as I have stated in my topic above, "Aluta Kontinua-Amandla!" This is what the ANC had always dreaded and feared, and now the time is nigh.

Below is a smattering of the criticism that has been leveled against Mandela, and there is even much more, from the African people themselves, that has not been reported of talked about by the white owned media. So, I pick it up from the point where Nadira reportsand informs us that her interview with Winnie on March revealed what all can read below:

Nadira Naipaul

Published: 08 March 2010

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, terrorized 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.[By the way, we in Soweto have a very different view of Winnie contradicting the author's point of view and reference above...]

Members of the gang would later testify in the South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Winnie had ordered the torture, murder and kidnap of her own people, and even participated directly.[Well, the African jury is still out on this matter]

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 predominantly black township: tourists come in buses to gawk 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, demonized 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.

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[African] 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, African 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[some?] 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 realize 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 Africans. Economically, we are still on the outside. The economy is very much 'white'. It has a few token Africans, but so many who gave their life in the struggle have died unrewarded."

She was pained. Her uncreased brown face had lost the softness.

"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 tires - 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 apologize, 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.