Winnie graduates - after 38yrs

2005-05-18 17:11

Johannesburg - Anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was celebrating on Wednesday after graduating with a BA degree in international relations - 38 years after she first began her course of study.

The former first lady was awarded the degree at a graduation ceremony at Witwatersrand University on Tuesday evening. She had originally started the degree in 1967.

"I needed to do the sorts of things you people were able to do later in my life, after liberation," she told Wednesday's Sowetan newspaper.

"I also needed to inspire my grandchildren. I wanted to show my children and grandchildren that I would also have loved to study too."

Madikizela-Mandela, 70, known by many South Africans as "the mother of the nation" suffered something of a fall from grace in the years following the collapse of the apartheid system.

In 1991, she was sentenced to six years in prison for her role in the killing of a 14-year-old boy.

The sentence was appealed and reduced to a fine.

She again escaped a jail term in 2004 when a judge overturned a conviction the previous year on charges of fraud and theft. - Sapa-dpa