Mandela let us down - Winnie

2010-03-09 11:18

Johannesburg - Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela bitterly lashed out at Nelson Mandela in an interview published in the London Evening Standard this week.

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.

'Bad deal for the blacks'

"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 appearance."

Others also suffered

Madikizela-Mandela said Mandela was not the only leader who suffered.

"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."

TRC 'charade'

She also lashed out at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process, criticising Tutu, its chairperson.

"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 planned.

"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."

  • Leslie Masinga - 2010-03-09 11:24

    Who cares about what Winnie says. She is a murderer (Stompie) and a convicter fraudster.
    So what if Nelson didn't speak out about Zimbabwe, Aids and crime - he had to keep the ANC popular.

  • Fi5 - 2010-03-09 11:25

    And the education and leadership the new SA is providing isn't much better.

  • Martin - 2010-03-09 11:28

    Wow, that's rich coming from her... Wasn't she found guilty of corruption, and suspected of murder etc?

  • dean - 2010-03-09 11:28

    This murderer should never have been allowed back into South Africa.

  • Tango - 2010-03-09 11:29

    My my Winnie! Hell hath no fury......? Do not play the man dear - play the system. The current Government has people in very important portfoilios, earning great salaries with our taxes - they should be delivering to the poor and homeless what the ANC government promised them! Its so easy to blame a person!

  • Zizo - 2010-03-09 11:29

    Amen to that Winnie. You are the only person that understand the apartheid brutality. Mandela came out of prison with a weak deal and now the whole country is still trailing. Winnie for President.

  • You are a cretin Winnie - 2010-03-09 11:29

    How dare you, you became nothing but a criminal and now side with Julius Idiot, you don't spek for me or my family and please don't presume to.My father died in the struggle but we as a family choose to move forward, not backwards.You are nothing but a cancer in this my land.

  • Andrew - 2010-03-09 11:30

    This woman shouldn't even be given a voice in the dare she insult Madiba, when SHE is a murderous wench that should have been locked up years ago for her role in murdering a child! She should thank her lucky stars she was married to Mr. Mandela, but obviously his humble soul didn't rub off on her...

  • patrick bateman - 2010-03-09 11:30

    "but so many who gave their life in the struggle have died unrewarded". Surely their reward was the end of apartheid?? Or was she expecting gold bars for everyone? What was Stompies reward? There are no words to describe what scum this woman is. She belongs behind bars and yet sits in her ivory tower and slings mud at two men who are beyond reproach.

  • Oh Dear - 2010-03-09 11:31

    Next we are going to hear is that Winnie and Julius are going to get married !!!!

  • winnie the pooh - 2010-03-09 11:31

    why Winnie is even asked her opinion is beyond me. she has used the name mandela for her own advantage and now insults the man who gave up everything. He is using his foundation to help others and he is a brand all on his own. and to even call desmond tutu a cretin. well its like the devil calling god a sinner . and now they making a movie. god help us send us more men like mandela to lead us. and away with the zuma's and malema's

  • SimonP - 2010-03-09 11:31

    Winnie is a convicxted fraudster. Whoi cares what she has to say.

  • POULO YA RONA - 2010-03-09 11:32

    What?? she is the one who has let us down, just couldn't wait to bring this to the media and shine on the Mandela name. why is she not commenting on the expensive life that young Julius is having out there?? is she also waiting for Malema to be pushed around as well?? Winnie is not a victim or a herione, she is just mere ex-wife to uTata Mandela and she needs to get over her high horse. Stop pointing fingures mama and do your duties of delivering service the nation. bitterness won't get you anyway.

  • name - 2010-03-09 11:33

    Is some ways, if I were black, I do agree with her. ANC should have planned everything better, like this we all would have been better off

  • Sandra - 2010-03-09 11:33

    Sorry, Winnie, but you let everyone down - including your ex-husband and the struggle. Your ungracious performance at the TRC made you look truly evil - just like some of the ghastly ex-security policemen who appeared there. The same attitude and sense of righteousness. Fraud, Stompie etc - not exactly a credit to the struggle, would you say? Anyone can make blood run, not letting it run is the real challenge.

  • Anton de Waal - 2010-03-09 11:34

    Winnie, you are not even 100th of the person that Nelson or Desmond are. All you did was marry well. If you think that the Mandela name has been sullied, I suggest that you revert back your maiden name.

  • Siviwe - 2010-03-09 11:34

    Halala... Some speaks the truth at last. Is there more to come...let's wait and see.

  • Eric - 2010-03-09 11:34

    He fought to give people the OPPORTUNITY to EARN what they get, just like the rest of us. Not for people to take everything they want because of the circumstances of the past.

  • Thiboz - 2010-03-09 11:34

    at last the truth is out...had to wait for more than 15 yrs to hear this....fresh air!!!

  • TREV - 2010-03-09 11:34

    This is rich coming from Winnie, if you don't like the Mandela name then, remove it and don't use a fraud Winnie, you feed on the poor like Julius and you have benefitted like the few you say in the new SA...we don't see you suffering, we see an old bitter X WIFE...who's ONLY claim to fame is to feed off others enjoy your luxury house, cars, body guards...yet you a convicted CRIMINAL of Kidnapping and dare say it, MURDER but they called it assualt yet the kid is dead and you get a fine after getting 6years...corruption...coming from you, I find this very rich...but then again, I wonder if Julius Malema is not your son cause the two of YOU, South Africa does NOT need....

  • Anthony - 2010-03-09 11:34

    Where did it all go Wrong, it went wrong when the blacks thought that the white man is going to run everything for them, they never thought that they will actually have to do something for themselves. The government is corrupt to the core, and Mrs Madikizela is right at the centre, sort out the corruption, and everything will fall into place. Put people in the right places where they belong, because they can do the job, not because of their colour or religion and this country will be a way better place.

  • ndile Motsie - 2010-03-09 11:34

    I 100% agree with Winnie.

  • Jan Hofmeyr - 2010-03-09 11:35

    The reason there are not enough black people active in the economy is because you're rubbish ANC takes all the money needed to educate the poor to enrich themselves. You chase away all the skilled participants who would have created more jobs for black people. Blame Mandela? You are the lowest form of filth!

  • sue - 2010-03-09 11:35

    Dear sad old Winnie ( Whinnie), just because you did not make headlines and your statue was not errected in Sandton you are bitter.
    Nelson Mandela is and always will be respected by every person all over the globe be he/she black or white.

  • j - 2010-03-09 11:35

    bla bla bla...

  • Jonny Haw - 2010-03-09 11:35

    This just goes to prove one thing. Mandela was so right to push this "evil mad women" out! South Africa would be a dark pit of hell had Mandela not taken the path that he did. We would have become another Zimbabwe!

  • angry at apartheid - 2010-03-09 11:37

    i'm a proud white south african female. I love our country, I have black friends, I don't live life thinking in colours and cultures, I live life thinking of justice, peace, friends and a future for my chilren. Why does ex-mrs mandela (and like minded people like Zuma and Julias) feel the need to keep apartheid alive? Just let it go and get on with the business of running the country and making a success of it. Rather worry about the safety of everyone, the financial stability of the country, service delivery, anti-corruption campaigns etc. Moaning about the past won't change it or prove those who are 'pro-apartheid' wrong - but by starting to focus on what matters you just might be able to get those remaining racists to bite their tongues.

  • Lyndon - 2010-03-09 11:37

    Has Winnie finally lost it? Nelson Mandela is a symbol of the Struggle - others are honoured in different ways. Did people sacrifice so much to be rewarded, or for the future of future generations? Or is it all sour grapes from Winnie because she no longer has a role to play? I respected her for her fight against apartheid - but if this article is accurate - shame on her!

  • Bongani - 2010-03-09 11:39

    I think Winnie Madikizela Mandela has gone crazy. It happens with age. The brain does not function normally and in severe cases like hers she is losing her morals.

  • Neville - 2010-03-09 11:39

    What a bitter woman. This bitterness must have been in her for years.
    As a White South African I only have love and admiration for both ex President Mandela and Arch Bishop Tutu.

    I shudder to think what the outcome would have been without their true leadership qualities and forgiveness.

    Maybe Winnie can learn a thing or two from them but then maybe I am just a fool who believes SA is a better place today despite the problems we face each day

  • bitter...? - 2010-03-09 11:39

    If she dislike Mr Mandela so much…why keep the name?
    Winnie is not struggling financially…she is more financially set than 90% of other South Africans! Why spend so much on jewelery etc if you can use that money to help lots and lots of struggling families? You have a grand house in Orlando and the money to wine and dine every night….so you can’t complain with the white bread under the arm! If more money is used to help the poor rather than pay for trips and clothes and big nice cars….wouldn’t that help all? Madiba did so much for this country and the TRC also helped! There is peace in knowing what happened to a dead family member. But the TRC is done now….stop digging up the past and be responsible with the decisions for the future! Accept all!

  • Micky - 2010-03-09 11:40

    Wow - I thought that Winnie was a little more mature than that and that we had moved on from this sentiment. If this feeling is lying under the surface of the general populace then my heart breaks for South Africa. When are we going to move on?

  • TL - 2010-03-09 11:41

    Like I said before, history will be written and anyone willing to know the truth will know the honest truth. When the time comes we will not have celebrities who are said to be heroes anymore.

  • Ifat Eliyahu - 2010-03-09 11:41

    Sandton Square - the most affluent white area??? Have you been to Sandton lately and looked around you Miss Winnie??? It is 80% black!!! The problem in this country is that people that have come in to power have been blinded by all the $$$. The gap between rich black people & blacks whom still live in shacks with NO toilets etc is HUGE!!! Black people DO NOT care about one another, they care about their own pocket!!!

  • Big G - 2010-03-09 11:42

    Eish Winnie - thanks for the lesson.The "lesson" being that hatred & bitterness will consume you . . . You don't deserve to carry the surname of this continent's greatest leader. In fact, why do you still carry the name . . . ? I think you enjoy the respect it offers - you're a hypocrite, & an ungrateful one at that. As a British born white male in his 40's who served for 2 years in our armed forces, I really appreciate the sacrifice & pure love for his fellow man that Madiba exudes. You'd do well to put that hatred & bitterness down & "move on". For you to insult Madiba & The Arch in this way amounts to treason in my book. I think you're pathetic & should be thrown in jail or shot !

  • Charles - 2010-03-09 11:43

    Winnie, I salute you. Very few people would admit to this or have the courage to do anything similar. Viva Winnie Madikizela, Viva.

  • Daniel A Hartmann - 2010-03-09 11:43

    Because Winnie was never in the spotlight for the right reason she should not make Madiba out to be an Ogre

  • DLE - 2010-03-09 11:43

    Poor Winnie, what about other soldiers that have died in wars that were unknown and unrewarded even some apartheid soldiers who were there not because they wanted to but had and gave the ultimate sacrifice and unrewarded.

  • Marcel - 2010-03-09 11:43

    as if she's not milking that name (Mandela) as well....

  • Semjaja - 2010-03-09 11:45

    funny, the ANC wasn't above wheeling old Nelson out when it was election time....

  • DavidT - 2010-03-09 11:45

    Finally somebody has the guts to speak the truth. Whatever her motivation is Winnie is saying what every black person knows and whites battle to understand which is why Mbeki pushed for BEE and affirmative action so that the can be economic equality rather the political equality. The new ANC leadership never understood Mbeki and is only concerned with political power and their idea of economic empowerment is being tenderpreneurs and political racketeers in kicking doors and threatning political careers is norm.

    I said it before when Mbeki was being critised from every corner, that beware of the alternative and what do we have now JZ and the court jester JM. JZ who needs legal advice to declare his interest as the law which he actually signed in personally into law as the acting president together with Kader Asmal...check the signitures...I wonder what else is he signing into law that has to go through lawyers when it has to be effected.

  • Jaz - 2010-03-09 11:46

    Yet in the past sixteen years she has plundered our country at the cost of the same people who still find themselves "on the outside". She is evil.

  • koos - 2010-03-09 11:46

    Winnie, if "This name Mandela is an albatross around the necks of my family" why do you insist on keeping it?? Secondly you say "The economy is very much 'white' many who gave their life in the struggle have died unrewarded". In a free market economy driven by supply and demand you have to outperform your competitors by supplying better products and services,then you will reap the rewards. The fact that you burned down schools and neck laced people, throwed stones through shop windows and tried everything possible to destroy the infrastructure and to “render the country ungovernable” hardly makes you competitive in a free market economy. No foreign investor is likely to invest in such a country. Thirdly you say “There were many others, hundreds who languished in prison and died.” At least be fair and also speak about the people who died in ANC prison camps or those poor women and children who died from bombings like the Church Street bomb in Pretoria or the St James Massacre in Cape Town. I mean what kind of a sick person walks into a church and starts shooting at unarmed people? Really none as blind as those who don’t want to see.

  • Norman Elliot - 2010-03-09 11:47

    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela should realise that 16 years have passed in the new SA and that her elected government,the ANC,has failed the country,it's people and Madiba.Spend less time blaming everyone and get the country under control by eliminating corruption and crime etc.Leading politicians should be role models to the SA citizens and it starts with the current president.If SA had all under control it would be an investors paradise,but because of the evils it's become another begging African country.The SWC was not needed and the Billions of Rands that have been spent on this venture would have gone a long way to address Winnies concerns.South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world and the sky is the limit with opportunity in this wonderful land which is being steadily destroyed by corrupt and greedy politicians.

  • Jim Beam - 2010-03-09 11:48

    Hau wena how can you say that of Madiba......we have not forgotten that you said you will burn the country down with match sticks and that anyone that stood in your way would be dealt with.....poor stompie and how many like him have vanished because of you madame match sticks....bitterness is a sad thing.

  • Craig - 2010-03-09 11:49

    ...yet she continued to ride on the coat tails of Nelson Mandela, who is possibly 1 of the greatest people that ever lived??? ...and we must take this from someone who gives Julius Malema a glowing recommendation! Please! Hopefully the poms haven't eaten this up.

  • Tieho - 2010-03-09 11:50

    FINALY our true leader speaks, she addressed issues that are the core of this burning revolution inside all of us (Black) young minds-we need to address these issues with the same tone of honesty she projects-we are still a bitter and unhealed nation, given a pill instead of surgery to ease the hurt.
    There are many truths in the struggle-all equal, none the less only one, Mandela's has ever been told. How about Chris Hani-Steve Biko, Mama-Winnie herslef and other unkown-unnamed heores. The Mandela hangover should be done away with, so we can address our nation's hurt.

  • TAKALANI - 2010-03-09 11:51

    If Winnie was not married to NELSON MANDELA i dont think that she would be saying the same things today. MANDELA gave her that exposure and she is known today because of him. She loosing it and she does not know what she is talking about. MANDELA WAS HER ROAD TO FAME "KLAAR"

  • George - 2010-03-09 11:52

    It is sad that she has to bad-mouth all and sundry about a miraculous reconciliation of what was always believed to be unattainable. Winnie Mandela needs to accept that there is no perfect world and that the war has ceased.
    There is much evidence of a sour grapes attitude in what she has said. Unfortunately the icinic Bishp(Tutu) was unable to extract an ounce of forgiveness from her when she was interviewed by the TRC and she is the poorer for this.

  • pantsula - 2010-03-09 11:52

    Sounds more like a breath of stale air to me.
    Talking about true colors.