Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: The dark side of the legend revealed

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: The dark side of the legend revealed

- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was ashamed of her half-white mother

- The legendary freedom fighter established Mandela United FC, a thinly veiled group of thugs who carried out assaults on her behalf in Soweto

- Shortly before her death, Winnie criticised her ex-husband Nelson Mandela for pandering to white people

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be remembered as a true South African hero and the mother of our nation. Tributes continue to pour in for Mama Winnie, who passed away at the age of 81 on Monday.

Winnie was a controversial figure and her legacy as a freedom fighter is beyond question. Unfortunately, Winnie also had a dark side and she was often followed by scandals and controversy.

READ ALSO: 5 Moments which show just how fearless Winnie Madikizela-Mandela could be

Winnie was ashamed of her mother being half-white and from a young age, she felt like her blood was polluted. Winnie’s childhood was marred by family tension which arose due to her mother having pale skin, blue eyes and red hair. discovered that right up to her death Winnie was embroiled in a bitter legal battle for control of her ex-husband’s, Nelson Mandela, Qunu house, this despite the fact that she had never lived there and at the time of Mandela’s death in 2013 they had been divorced for 17 years.

Winnie and Nelson married in 1958 and only had four years together as a married couple before he was sent to Robben Island in 1963. It was during Nelson’s imprisonment that Winnie became a freedom fighter in her own right and started the road to becoming a legend.

Winnie was famously fearless and never stood back from authority, she called on black South Africans to liberate their country by using the township necklace on white people. Some of her close friends say Winnie developed a taste for cheap liquor during this period and spent much of the time hopelessly drunk.

A township necklace consists of a stack of tyres filled with petrol, with a person tied inside the tyres before being set alight.

In 1977 Winnie was exiled to Brandfort in the Free State, she eventually returned from exile in 1986 and the ANC portrayed her as a brave freedom fighter who was committed to the cause of freeing South Africa from the evils of apartheid.

The truth according to is that Winnie was a bitter woman who was more interested in acts of revenge motivated by hatred. She increasingly turned to violence and even murder, while living off her famous surname and enriching herself.

It was during this time that she established Mandela United FC, a supposedly amateur soccer team, which never actually played a game. Instead, the group was a thinly veiled group of hired thugs who would carry out nefarious acts on Winnie’s instructions.

The group would target police informants and those who Winnie felt were not radical enough in the fight against the white-minority government.

Mandela United was linked to multiple cases of assault, sexual assault and kidnappings in the late 1980’s.

One of Mandela United’s members was convicted of killing Stompie Moeketsi, a 14-year-old boy in 1989. Winnie herself was found guilty of kidnapping Stompie in 1991, she appealed her six-year prison sentenced which was reduced to a fine.

The man who was convicted for Stompie’s murder said he had acted on the personal instructions of Winnie.

A former friend of Winnie’s called Xholisa Falati said: “Winnie Mandela’s hands are dripping with the blood of the people of South Africa. She is brutal; she is selfish; she has no conscience. She is like Idi Amin.”

In 2003 Winnie is found guilty on 43 charges of fraud and 25 charges of theft from a funeral fund. She was sentenced to five years behind bars, but on appeal, her sentence is reduced to a fine.

READ ALSO: Graca Machel pens heart-breaking letter to ‘big sister’ Winnie Mandela after her death

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