BOOKS TO READ: Winnie Mandela: A Life

By: Thato Magano (@pothaeto

The author beautifully retells a paradoxical tale of an individual, who so committed to a peaceful movement intent on eliminating the ravages of apartheid, also ended up inflicting harm upon the very same people she was committed to liberating.

AUTHOR: Anné Marie du Preez Bezdrob

AVAILABILITY: kalahari.com, loot.co.za, exclus1ves.co.za

This is a towering story of a woman who put her life on the line to bring forth the democracy we enjoy today. In this book, you will learn that the woman South Africa and the world came to know as “Mother of the Nation” was born an unwanted girl child as her father had wanted a son. Her relatively normal childhood could never have prepared her for the role she would have to play in constructing the narrative of the South African story: we learn how she had to grow up when little had prepared her to do so and how she became the first black medical social worker at what is now Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. In moving to Johannesburg, her awareness of the stark inequalities of South African life for the average black person grew. Here in the City of Gold, she established some very influential friendships, some of which would eventually lead to her marriage to Nelson Mandela. Her strength is commendable and demonstrated as she stood triumphant over the countless provocations by the police, nights of solitary confinement and years of banishment in Brandfort.

The book seeks to construct a balanced narrative of the naivety that lead Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela-Mandela into the depths of the one relationship that would change the course of her life. The author beautifully retells a paradoxical tale of an individual, who so committed to a peaceful movement intent on eliminating the ravages of apartheid, also ended up inflicting harm upon the very same people she was committed to liberating. Overall, this is a significant socio-political read that will shed light on the life of a great woman of the South African soil who fell off the pedestal along the way.

Further Reading:

Part of my Soul went with Him (1985) by Winnie Mandela,

The Cry of Winnie Mandela (2003) by Njabulo Simakahle Ndebele.

You can also watch SABC Truth And Reconciliation: Winnie Debate

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