Mandela let us down: Winnie

2010-03-09 11:23

STRUGGLE stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela bitterly lashed out at

Nelson Mandela in an interview published in the
London Evening Standard this


She said South Africa’s first democratically elected president, who

is also her ex-husband, had become a “corporate foundation” who was being

“wheeled out to collect the money”.

Madikizela-Mandela also called Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu a

“cretin”, in the interview with Nadira Naipaul, who visited her with her

husband, the writer VS Naipaul, in Soweto.

“Mandela let us down,” said Madikizela-Mandela.

“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,” said

Madikizela-Mandela, in the interview published on

She said Mandela had no control over the ANC anymore and was just

being used by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to get funds.

“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


Madikizela-Mandela said Mandela was not the only leader who


“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.”

Madikizela-Mandela criticised him for accepting the Nobel Peace

Prize with the apartheid government’s last president, FW de Klerk.

“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.”

She also lashed out at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

process, criticising Tutu, its chairman.

“Look at this Truth and Reconciliation charade. He [Mandela] should

never have agreed to it.

“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.

“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.”

Looking back, she said the movement’s actions were badly


“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.”


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