Winnie Mandela Term Paper

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Winnie Mandela. The writer focuses on the Truth and Reconciliation hearing that she went through. Her life is presented as well as her beliefs and causes with a focus on the hearing and what it meant her followers. There were 10 sources used to complete this paper.

She is a woman who excused confidence, and she led many people to the brink of freedom as well as political activism. While she was at one time married to the great political activist Nelson Mandela, her name has become well-known because of her own fight for the causes she believes in. Winnie Mandela has spent her adult life as an activist. She knows how to stir the hearts of those who follower her as well as push the buttons of those who do not. In contrast to her ex-husband who is known for his attitude of passive resistance Winnie is far more likely to promote violent resistance. Her highly controversial presence in the center of many political disagreements has caused her to become the target for persecution and enemies. One of the most noted events in her life has been the Truth and Reconciliation trial that she went through. When it comes to Winnie Mandela most either love her or hate her, and there are few who have no emotion at all.

Before one can begin to understand how the trial came to be one must have an understanding of who she is and how she arrived at the crossroad of the courtroom.

Winnie Mandela has been called the Mother of a Nation for those who love and follow her. They are referring to South Africa. Those who dislike her and her beliefs think she should spend the rest of her natural life in a prison without the possibility of parole (Biography of Winnie Mandela ('s charismatic ability to speak and attract others has helped her rise to international stature in the field of public speakers. Her speeches are filled with an intensity that is rivaled by few, and her gaze upon an audience can capture the most faint of hearts and make them want to fight for their rights. This is what makes her loved by her followers, and it is also what makes her detractors want her put away where she can no longer influence others. As the world has watched her gather clout and power many have wondered where she came from to produce such a powerful and dynamic personality as an adult.

She was born on Sept 26, 1936 in Bizana, Transkei. Her mother raised eight children all together while also teaching Home Economics at a local school. Had her mother not died when Winnie was eight years old her entire life may have taken a different path, but she died and Winnie was left with her siblings and her father (Biography of WinnieMandela was a child in an era where females and males did play different roles and the role of the father was to be the outspoken and political half of the team. It is possible that growing up with her father caused her to develop such a strong willed personality and refusal to be submissive. This was during a time where women and blacks were routinely discriminated against, and her strong personality served her well. She graduated university with a degree in International Relations. "Her family were better off than most black people in South Africa in those years and during this time she was unaware of the inequality that was so rampant among black people. It was only when she worked at the Baragwanath Hospital as a social worker (she was the very first black social worker, male or female) that she became acutely aware of the huge gap between the privileged white minority and the terrible levels of poverty that the black people were subjected to. She noticed how bad the medical services were for ill black people and even completed a project that included research that showed than ten out one thousand black babies died during birth. Deaths that need not have happened."

This may have also contributed to her later activist years. She had grown up experiencing very little racism or mistreatment due to her color and to watch it occur as a young adult may have triggered a seething rage in her that could not be put out without her taking proactive steps to right the wrongs she witnessed. Her first arrest happened in 1958, when she was connected to the African National Congress. She was detained as a political prisoner. Instead of discouraging her growing activist heart the arrest seemed to spur her on further and get her more involved in apartheid resistance. She was one of the most heard voices to women of South Africa in her attempt to get them to stand up and refuse to give in to the laws of apartheid.

When she married Nelson Mandela it was another step in building the strong woman that she was. While many women depended on their husbands for help in the home, Winnie had to raise the children almost single-handedly because Nelson traveled so much for his own political causes. This was another brick in the foundation for Winnie's growing strength and power that would make her one of the most powerful female activists on earth. "Over the years she was banned and jailed. At one time she was put into solitary confinement on the death row, probably, the then government's endeavor to weaken her beliefs. One wonders how the children coped with an absent father and a mother who was victimized in this way. After her release form a Kroonstad prison in 1975, she was part of the newly formed African National Congress Women's League - a movement that till today has a powerful political voice (Biography of Winnie Mandela ( was not long before the Women's League was banned as well - this did not deter Winnie and her female comrades - they continued to struggle against the apartheid laws (Biography of Winnie Mandela ("

The trait that has earned Winnie Mandela the badge of Mother of a Nation was her absolute refusal to give in to apartheid. She was fearless in her attacks on the moral wrong of the laws, and all of the jailing, threats and anger form the government could not stop her. She spoke loudly, she spoke clearly and each time they hauled her away and she refused to quiet her anger she gave strength to others who had been afraid to speak out before. The government became increasingly frustrated with this political machine named Winnie. Regardless of how it threatened her or punished her she came out fighting even harder than before and this was spurring many to take up the call for change. The government continued to jail and releases Winnie in the hopes that one day she would tire of the loss of freedom and find a niche in life other than stirring the masses. Winnie on the other hand knew her refusal to bend was giving strength to others and this seemed to provide her with even more resolve to call for change.

It became apparent to Winnie however, that she needed personal protection as she moved higher into the ranks of political activist leaders. She formed something she called the Mandela United Football Team. This was actually a group of body guards but there were many rumors that they were involved in illegal and violent activities instead of playing football or guarding Winnie.

More rumours surfaced when it was said that many governmental informers were ordered by Winnie to death by necklacing (when a tyre is placed over an "accused's" neck and lit) (Biography of Winnie Mandela ("

It was the actions of the football team that brought Winnie down. A 14-year-old was murdered by one of the football team and there were allegations that Winnie herself had ordered the hit (McCarthy, 1997). Those who were involved with and watched the trial wonder how she had gone from a national leader of rights to someone who would authorize the murder of a teenage child. It was something that caused her to lose steam in the political arena for awhile. Her carefully constructed image came tumbling down, when witnesses testified at her trial. She was tried for the death of the 14 years old and thing she was found guilty of being involved it was actually one of her body guards who was sentenced for the murder. The trial opened a new arena for Winnie Mandela when it alerted the world to her underground activities and cold hearted ability to order the murder of a youngster regardless of her anger. The trial uncovered more than the elements of this one killing. The trial exposed an entire side of Winnie that her followers had thus far refused to believe existed. Testimony during the trial alleged that she had her football team of thugs carried out…

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