'How they blocked Winnie from becoming Madiba's deputy'

Emotions ran high at the first local screening of a documentary on the life of Struggle heroine Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the weekend.

Directed by Frenchwoman Pascale Lamche, the documentary premiered at Ster-Kinekor in Newtown on Saturday night. It evoked emotions from some members of the audience.

Charley Pietersen, the author of Petrus Molemela's autobiography, was moved that he issued an apology to Madikizela-Mandela "on behalf of late statesman Nelson Mandela".

"Since Madiba has passed on, I apologise on his behalf for what happened," Pietersen said.

Music legend Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse said: "Some of us have always believed that someone, someday will write a true story about Mama Winnie. I am glad someone has been brave enough to do that."

The screening was graced by Gauteng arts and culture MEC Faith Mazibuko, Sonwabile Ndamase, Mara Louw, Criselda Dudumashe, Jerry Mofokeng wa Makhetha, Madikizela-Mandela and family.

The documentary revealed some information about what caused Madikizela-Mandela's separation from Madiba.

The story further tells how she was strategically removed from the ANC's inner circle.

Dressed in a black outfit, the Struggle heroine stared ahead as a former apartheid security forces member relived how they made her life a "living hell".

A former head of security during apartheid disclosed he was summoned to the office of Sydney Mufamadi, who was minister of security and safety under Mandela's government post 1994.

"He asked me to investigate all murder cases against Winnie, starting with the Stompie case. I realised that this was politically motivated," said the officer.

In another scene the documentary highlights how Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, "humiliated" Madikizela-Mandela.

Madikizela-Mandela said all charges that were brought up in the TRC were a plot to humiliate her, and to show she was not fit to be Madiba's wife.

"They knew I did not kill Stompie, I am the only one in the ANC who was taken to the TRC by her own movement," she said.

"The subpoena arrived a few days before the national conference [of the ANC]. For me it was part and parcel of that agenda to stop me from being a deputy [president of ANC]."

In the film she related how she was angered when Tutu asked her to apologise in public.

"I was seething with rage [even] to this day.

"I asked God to forgive me for not forgiving him. He was begging me to say sorry as if I was responsible for apartheid."

One of the apartheid security policemen explained that Madikizela-Mandela was a critical figure pushing for a socialist transformation during negotiations but they managed and contain her. The officer said they collected clips of her and her house raid in Soweto after Stompie died and put them together into a documentary.

The short film was shown overseas so that the world could see her as a "terrorist".

He said it was easy to tame Madikizela-Mandela because her personal life was in tatters. He said they paid a journalist to publish falsehoods about her.

Madikizela-Mandela also said she did not see eye to eye with the ANC and Mandela on their policies and was isolated in order to eliminate her from the inner circle of the party.

"I realised that I had become a project to certain people. They had decided that Madiba was safer without me."

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