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Is It Just Me? What Is Up With Winnie Mandela?

Is it just me? But, what is up with Winnie Mandela?
For the life of me, I can’t really pinpoint exactly why we as African-American women never seemed to have fully embraced Winnie Mandela as the “Mother of South Africa”  and by extension, our mother. We typically love to get behind the black women behind our iconic men, but somehow we never really warmed up to Winnie.
Was it that thing we do as black women where we embrace our men and give all sorts of sideways cut eyes to other black women?
Did we fall victim to the media portrayal of her as mean-spirited  and evil when we know good and well how they do?  Was she South Africa’s Omarosa and we were too gullible to see beyond it?
Was it the charges (by over 40 people no less) that her armed guards, posing as a local football team, allegedly kidnapped and killed a 14-year old teenager that made us say, this sister may be too militant? Helping to orchestrate a murder, Winnie? Seriously?
Was it the scandalous reports that she had the audacity to allegedly cheat on our ever-noble Nelson  while he was locked up for taking a stand to transform the world?  SMH. The nerve! Let’s just put it out there, Coretta would have never done something like that.  
Or are we flaming hypocrites, willing to accept and forgive the personal and moral flaws in our black men but not our black women?
I don’t know if there is a “lock-down love” type of segment on the radio stations in your area as there is here in New York City, but I’m telling you, these sisters (Latinas too!) with a man on lock down are fiercely loyal. Frighteningly so. They call in to the show en masse every week sending all sorts of shout-outs and declarations of love and I’ll’-be-here-for-you-ness  to men who probably can’t even listen to a radio.
Did we expect Winnie to be like that? Or like Penelope, the faithful wife in Homer’s Odyssey who weeps lonely tears, takes care of the home and waits patiently in Ithaca for Odysseus to return, determined to let nothing break her loyalty.
Even Chris Rock famously joked that Nelson Mandela survived 27 years of torture and imprisonment but couldn’t survive a few years with Winnie after being released.
Late last year, Winnie threatened to sue the not-yet-released film about her life with Jennifer Hudson playing the lead role. Talking against our beloved J-Hud?? I mean, did you see her in DreamGirls?  Where does it stop with you Winnie?
Now Winnie is in trouble again. According to the Associated Press she mouthed off to a journalist  criticizing Nelson Mandela and called Bishop Desmond Tutu “ a cretin” and then said she never granted an interview.  Say what?
From AP: “The London Evening Standard had quoted Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as saying that her ex-husband had "let us down" and that she could not forgive him for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 alongside white president F.W. De Klerk.

Madikizela-Mandela said she did not grant an interview to the newspaper but she did not specifically deny making the remarks, which created a stir in South Africa after they were carried by local media.

"I will in the coming days deal with what I see as an inexplicable attempt to undermine the unity of my family, the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the high regard with which the name Mandela is held here and across the globe," Madikizela-Mandela said in a statement distributed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.’”   Read the whole piece for yourself here.
Winnie herself was said to be “traveling” and “unavailable for comment.” How convenient.  
I’m pretty sure ole girl was on clear and direct orders to lay low, stay quiet and collect her checks. Turns out, according to the story, the faux pas happened when she was entertaining a well-known journalist in her home and probably didn’t think her comments would end up in the newspaper.
Memo to Winnie: we journalists are always on a story assignment. Even in the bathroom. If anything noteworthy happens in there, we will be writing about it.
That’s something we’d expect you to know, Winnie.
 I’m still not sure why black women haven’t rallied around Winnie Mandela. But I’d really like to know why.  
…Or did I just answer my own question?
2 Responses to “Is It Just Me? What Is Up With Winnie Mandela?”
  1. tanyetta says:

    i must be living under a rock. i had NO idea about any of this. thank you for bringing this to light. i am going to come back and read more when the house is quiet!!! 🙂

  2. Eve says:

    I think it’s because we really don’t know who Winne Mandela is. Sure, there has been a lot written ‘about’ her, but when have we actually heard FROM her? I think the fact that the majority of black women have not rallied around her, or any group, is a lot better than rallying against her. And I guess she’s comfortable with just that. (Eveshouse.blogspot.com)

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