Winnie Mandela Winnie Mandela's family shames South African Government

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3 Scandals that tainted Winnie Mandela's legacy

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa with at the Memorial of the late Winnie Mandela play South African President Cyril Ramaphosa with at the Memorial of the late Winnie Mandela (Courtesy)

As leaders from across the globe paid glowing tribute to Winnie Mandela, the family sought to come clean, accusing the government and the media of being hypocritical in their praises for the fallen hero.

In a eulogy read by Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, the family recounted how the media and the government smeared Mandela's name with countless allegations, robbing her the rightful legacy she deserved as a liberation hero.

"The pain inflicted on her lives forever even after her death. Praising her now in her death show how hypocritical we are as a nation. We could have told her the praises while she was alive," Zezani said.


Winnie held different positions in the government including and was appointed deputy Prime Minister of arts, culture, science and technology in 1994.

She was fired after allegations of corruption emerged with her name featuring prominently.

She would find her way to the limelight again in 1996 following her divorce that marked the end of her 38 year old union with Nelson Mandela.

As the world received news of their divorce, public opinion was divided with some noting that while Mandela had forgiven his jailers and embraced reconciliation, he could not pardon his wife for being unfaithful while he was in jail for 27 years.


In defence of her late mother, Zenani observed that while Winnie was expected to uphold and display high moral standards, the same was not expected of her male counterparts.

2003 saw Winnie Mandela convicted of fraud and theft in 2003 over a bank loan scam that would further tarnish her rich legacy.

However, the conviction was later overturned with the court handing her a suspended sentence of three years and six months for fraud.

“We want to let you know that my mother despite all the lies smeared against her was ready to challenge the lies but time did not allow.” Zenani stated.


The veteran politician and activist would make a grand return to parliament in 2007 owing to her popularity among the poor black South Africans and the youth and would continue pushing for reforms as disillusionment swept across the majority poor black South Africans.

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