For 27 years while Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, Winnie Mandela remained married to him, travelled the world, and raised awareness about the injustices in South Africa. Yes, the street said over and over that Winnie was sleeping around while Nelson was sleeping in prison. But, so what? If I have a man whom I love and he becomes imprisoned, I’m not going to put my penis on the Catholic altar for 27 years and make cobweb grow on it. Winnie had a right to seek sex to satisfy her urges.
Why have we thrown Winnie Mandela under the bus? Yes, she had done some evil things, if we are to take as credible what the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded about her violent past? But what about the evils white South Africans committed. And what about the deeds of American presidents and the CIA that encouraged them?
Arguments that say evil must always be fought with good are more emotional than wise. In fact, the whole notion of an American war on terror proves that. As I understand it, Winnie was using the very tools evildoers were using upon her people.
Given that assumption, I wonder whether Winnie had been singled out to prove to guilty consciences that the Mandela bloodline and the black Disapora had their own evil deeds, singled out because she was a women who shouldn’t have done what powerful South African men were doing during those evil times, singled out because she was fucking around in a patriarchal-fucking-around society?
Look how our isolation of Winnie has forced us to forget her significance! What role has the vicious American media played in portraying the image that Winnie is spoiled goods to keep far from, to be mocked as they have been doing? How is the media’s current practice of ignoring Winnie’s legacy teaching blacks to not fully investigate histories that seriously affect them? How have many adopted and replicated, unconsciously, this learning?
At the end of the day, there can be no authentic memorializing of Nelson Mandela without frequent returns to the more than 27 years of Winnie Mandela’s presence.