How could the “Mother of the Nation” have done that?
An activist in her own right—and the global face of resistance to apartheid during her then-husband Nelson Mandela’s 27 years in prison—Winnie Mandela’s reputation never recovered from the stories that arose about her through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
In the words of the South African artist, Sue Williamson, “although [the TRC] was undeniably an essential process in beginning the healing of the country, the ‘truth’ proved elusive. One of the most poignant hearings involved that of Winnie Mandela . . . The killing of a young teen [Stompie Seipei] in December 1988 at the hands of the Mandela United Football Club [her bodyguards] brought her reputation into disrepute. Dr. Abu Baker Asvat was a beloved Soweto doctor who was assassinated by two men in his office in January 1989. Many believed he was killed because he refused to supply false medical records clearing Winnie Mandela of involvement in the death of Seipei, whom Mandela accused of being a police informer.”
The lithograph depicts the confusing and sometimes contradictory testimonies surrounding Winnie Mandela.