All Articles Tagged "winnie mandela"

For All The Women Who Have Given Society So Much: Why It’s Time We Put A Woman’s Face On The $20 Bill

March 31st, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of touring the Apartheid Museum, which is on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. The museum honors the legacy of those who suffered and labored under a system that made Blacks second-class citizens in their own country. 

I learned a lot of new things about the history of South Africa during this trip, including how the arrival of the English brought slaves from neighboring African countries who were used to build this new society without compensation. I learned more about the war between the Boers–people who are a mix of Dutch and German–and the British, which resulted in the further erosion of land rights. I also learned about the discovery of gold by the British and the system of taxation that helped to depose kings and set the stage for the legal apartheid system.

And then there was the history of the struggle. I learned about the revolutionaries of the movement to end apartheid, including Ahmed Timol, an anti-apartheid activist who died mysteriously while in police custody. And then there was Lillian Ngoyi and Helen Joseph, founders of the Federation of South African Women. They led a march of 20,000 to protest the extension of passbooks to women. And I also learned some new things about Nelson Mandela. For one, he was a snappy dresser and cared very much about having a great deal swag. Secondly, he had three wives, including his first wife, Evelyn Mase. He married her in 1944 and she accused him of adultery only a few years later. Finally, I learned that before Mandela was a reformist, he was a Black nationalist who believed that only Blacks could fight for the interest of Black people.

There was a lot to take in at the museum, and if you’re ever in South Africa (or even live there), I suggest that you check it out. But as dope as the museum was, there was one part of the historical record of the liberation struggle that had been completely washed over: I’m talking about Winnie Mandela.

Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela, aka, “Winnie,” is the second wife of Nelson Mandela and the most influential partner of the late civil rights icon and former president. She not only led the African National Congress Women’s League, but in 2007, she received more votes than any other candidate in the ANC National Executive Committee election. And despite accusations of corruption, Winnie took fifth place in the 2009 ANC elections.  

While most people talk about her ex-husband’s 27 years in prison, few speak about how this mother of two infant children spent 18 months in solitary confinement in the Pretoria Central Prison. She was ultimately banished to a small town where she would spend years on house arrest and face harassment by the police. 

Yet when most in the media talk about Winnie, we only hear about the allegations of the role she played in a kidnapping and murder, which she was convicted of, sentenced to six years for, but eventually only had to pay a fine for after appealing her conviction. If it’s not that, then we hear about the allegations of adultery, which supposedly occurred while Mandela was in prison.

History tells us that in spite of all the commitment she showed to the movement and to the liberation of her people, she is tainted and not worthy of homage. However, as noted by Dr. E. Faye Williams on the blog Winnie Mandela, “To say that she is controversial understates how critically she is scrutinized by many in the media, and in society at large.” Furthermore, the emphasis on Winnie’s alleged misgivings also glosses over how many of society’s most celebrated male change-makers were not always perfect either: King was an adulterer; Gandhi a bit of a racist, as was Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. We have come to accept prominent men as complex beings, but for whatever reason, women are never afforded the same sort of leniency in character. 

As I took note of the absence in substantial homage paid to Winnie in the museum’s take on the history of apartheid, I also reflected on how women are often absent from any talk about society’s great figures. Most of our leaders are men. Most of the public faces of movements are men. Our holidays are in celebration of men. Women are instead relegated to footnotes in history, and if they are mentioned at all, they are mentioned as doting wives who knew their roles were to be the support and comfort for burdened men. We call that being graceful, but rarely do we see the grace in women who stood bravely and sacrificed themselves for change.

The obvious reason is misogyny, which assumes that women are incapable and incompetent as leaders. According to a fairly recent article on Fortune‘s website, it is not just prominent change-making women whose legacies are forgotten or downplayed. Women employees are often subjected to less constructive and more personal feedback for their work in performance reviews than their male counterparts. In particular, the article notes, “This kind of negative personality criticism—watch your tone! step back! stop being so judgmental!—shows up twice in the 83 critical reviews received by men. It shows up in 71 of the 94 critical reviews received by women.”

Basically, women, regardless of their contributions to society, must learn to be seen and not heard. 

This disparity in how we relate to women is likely why we prefer to continue to honor even the most disgusting of historical figures, like Andrew Jackson for example. We honor him as the seventh president of the United States; but very few note his role in the Indian Removal Act, which led to the Trail of Tears and ultimately drove thousands of Native Americans out of the American Southeast, bringing the deaths of thousands more. And as a slave owner, he was also very antagonistic when it came to the abolitionist movement. Even outside of his horrible human rights record, very few people during his term as president actually liked the guy. Yet this is who we have as the face of our current $20 bill. 

This is why I am in full support of the movement to put a woman on the $20 bill. If you haven’t heard, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage is coming up in 2020. As a way to pay proper homage, two women–Barbara Ortiz Howard and Ades Stone–have started a campaign to right some gender wrongs and put a woman’s face on a U.S. bill. They have set up both a website and social media accounts to solicit suggestions and to also allow the public to vote for their favorite candidate. After the vote, the ladies plan to submit a petition to the Obama Administration, via the White House petition page, to make an official request. 

I realize that Winnie is not American, therefore she’s an unlikely choice for the face of the proposed new $20 bill (although I’m sure we can make the case that several multinational corporations with headquarters in America, as well as U.S. interests in general, were unjustly enriched by that country’s apartheid system). Instead, there are 30 other worthy women being considered for the spot, including Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Barbara Joyner, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt and the late Wilma Mankiller, who is the former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.  

Any one of them would be a much better representative than who is on the bill right now. For Harriet. For Sojourner. For Winnie. For all the women who have given society so much…


After Being Left Out, Winnie Mandela Challenges Nelson Mandela’s Will

August 11th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Supplied by Wenn.

Supplied by Wenn.

Last December when Nelson Mandela died, the world mourned. But after the funeral and the tributes were done, many were shocked by the will left behind by the former president of South Africa and anti-apartheid activist. Mandela omitted his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who stood by him during his years of imprisonment before they divorced in 1996, two years after he took the office of president of South Africa.

Now Winnie is contesting the will, saying she has a legitimate claim the country estate where her former husband is now buried. She’s not the only one unsatisfied with the will; Mandela’s relatives have been fighting over his vast estate worth $4.1 million since his death.

Madikizela-Mandela, who wed the civil rights icon in 1958, says the property in Qunu belongs to her and her children because it was she who bought it in 1989. At the time, her then-husband was in prison on Robben Island.

It is believed that Mandela left the home to his family trust and third wife Graca, who he married in 1998. But “in the weeks after his death in December last year, there were reportedly attempts to try and block her from the property,” reports The Daily Mail.

Mandela’s will stipulated his estate be split between his family, the African National Congress party, former staff and a number of schools, reports EURWeb. His homes in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Mthatha were left to the family trust. There were even instructions on who could reside in each property. And each of Mandela’s six children and some of his 17 grandchildren received cash inheritances.

“Graca Mandela waived her right to half of her husband’s estate but took over their four properties in her native Mozambique, which were jointly owned,” reports The Daily Mail.

The Business Of Biopics: 10 Movies We Believed & The Ones We Didn’t

June 17th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave

These days it seems like everyone is coming out with a biopic. Whether a political figure, entertainer or important person, there’s no getting away from actors taking on their character. Take 12 Years a Slave for example. It followed the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man sold into slavery. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o, the film grossed $187.7 million worldwide and won three Academy Awards including Best Picture. It was a successful biopic. Here are 10 other films that resonated with us and ones that were so-so in their delivery. Do you have a favorite?

‘A Lot Of People Said The Same About Dreamgirls’ Jennifer Hudson Speaks On ‘Winnie’ Critics

September 6th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: Eurweb

Source: Eurweb

Many people questioned Jennifer Hudson’s capabilities when they learned that she’d been cast to play Winnie Mandela in biopic, Winnie. However, JHud told HipHollywood that she’s not too busy concerning herself with those who doubt her because folks said the same thing about her role in Dreamgirls—and we all see what a success that was. She also discussed how amazing it’s been working with talented actor Terrence Howard. Check out some excerpt from her interview below.

On the challenges of taking on her first starring role:

“Facing ‘Winnie’ was definitely the most intimidating. I mean, it’s Winnie Mandela. Just to be anywhere near that is intimidating alone, and then it was my first lead role at the same time, which was also like, daunting.”

On critics:

“Well you know, I try not to think of those things. But I always say, ‘No one knows your potential better the way you do.’ A lot of people said the same thing about ‘Dreamgirls.’ I try not to think of those things and that’s how you grow.”

On working with a pro like Terrence Howard: 

“Terrence automatically makes you raise your bar. Like at times he would be like, ‘I wanna use the language closer, let’s use the dialect. Let’s speak their language,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh God, Terrence I’m just trying t get the accent down.’He’s always pushing you and everyday he would address me as ‘Winnie.’ He would come in character all the time. I don’t think there was a time I was talking to Terrence.”

Watch JHud’s interview on page two.

Pass Or Play? Jennifer Hudson Asks If You’d “Bleed For Love” For New “Winnie Mandela” Movie

September 4th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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bleed for love

Source: Ironwood Films

Not only is Jennifer Hudson flexing her Academy Award winning skills for her role as Winnie Mandela, in the eponymous biopic, she also uses the talent she was first known for and contributes to the film’s soundtrack.

In the ballad which almost sounds like a heroine’s track, “Bleed for Love,” Hudson sings about the intense commitment she has for her husband who spent 27 years incarcerated. The lyrics go as follows

“Would you lay down your life? Would you give it all? Would you beg and crawl? Would you fall upon the knife? Would you bleed for love?”

Daaang! Do you have a love like that?

Anyway, take a listen to the song below and tell us, pass or play?

The soundtrack is available today and the film will hit theaters this Friday, September 6.

Move Over Idris! See The Trailer For Jennifer Hudson And Terrence Howard’s “Winnie Mandela”

August 8th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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It’s officially the year of Madiba. While some are already talking about Oscar buzz for Idris Elba in his portrayal of Nelson Mandela for the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, which comes out this fall, some of you guys forgot that Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson have been working on their own Mandela film for years now. They first started talking about Winnie in 2010, but the film seemed to fall off the radar since it never officially hit the big screen. But hold up wait a minute! A new US trailer has been released for the film, brought to you by T.D. Jakes, and the name of the film has been changed from Winnie to Winnie Mandela.

The film will now try to step on the toes of Elba’s Long Walk To Freedom, and will be released on September 6 (in how many theaters, we’re not sure), just a few months before Long Walk To Freedom comes out on November 29. However, the focus of Winnie Mandela is clearly more about the former wife of Mandela and her struggle to keep his fight against apartheid going while he was in prison, and as she faced major challenges from the police and government. It’s also about the drama that came later in life for her around her divorce with Madiba and accusations of violence. From the trailer alone, it looks like it’s going to be pretty entertaining, but you never know these days. Trailers can play tricks on you. Check it out for yourself and let us know if you would see it!

First Look: The Trailer for “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” Is Released!

July 21st, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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mandela-long-walk poster

If you were wondering if Idris Elba would be able to pull off the role political icon Nelson Mandela, the full length trailer for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom has finally been released.

In the clip, we get to see a glimpse of the love story between Nelson and Winnie (played by actress Naomie Watts) as well as the political uprising that occurred in South Africa during that time. As we all know, Mandela was and continues to be the biggest force behind social change there.

Although the film doesn’t open until January, the buzz around it has been huge.  It seems like everyone is talking about it. If it plays out as well as many hope, Long Walk To Freedom could raise Elba’s Hollywood “stock” even higher. He’s already having a great year, having been part of some of this summer’s biggest blockbusters.

It looks like Naomie Watts will do a really good job as Winnie but since the focus is on Idris, what do you think of what you saw? What do you think of his accent?

Check out the trailer below.

No Sale: Auction Of Winnie Mandela’s Possessions Failed After There Are No Bidders Or Entry Into Home

May 24th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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The former First Lady of South Africa Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who is frequently called “mother of the nation,” is in debt and recently the court ordered that her possessions be auctioned off to help pay off the debt. But it seems no one was willing to take part. According to The Huffington Post, no one bid on the items, which included artworks and other belongings of Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife. And there were no locksmiths willing to unlock the doors to her home for the scheduled auction.

“Court sheriff John Maluleke and two other officials joined reporters gathered outside her gated home but were denied entry despite repeated ringing of the bell and banging on the metal gate,” reports HuffPo.  The auction was listed by attorney Stephen Karnavos of Alan Levy Attorneys. According to Karnavos, Mandela owes nearly R46,000 ($5,000), which includes the unpaid school fees for her niece plus interest, legal costs and sheriff’s fees. A check for the equivalent of $1,700 was paid to the law firm a day before the planned auction,  but the check has not  yet cleared, said Karnavos. As a member of South Africa’s Parliament, Madikizela-Mandela earns R900,000 (more than $95,000) annually.

The auction was called off after officials could not find a locksmith willing to force entry into Madikizela-Mandela’s home, a sheriff’s official told The Associated Press.

The anti-apartheid activist has had other legal problems. She was accused of allegedly ordering the kidnapping deaths of several young men in the 1980s and in 1991 she was found guilty in the kidnapping and assault of one youth who died of his injuries. The court sentenced her to six years in jail. After an appeal, she was found guilty of being an accessory in the assault and her sentence was reduced to a fine and a suspended prison term, reports the website.

Nelson Mandela and Madikizela-Mandela married in 1958 but his 27-year imprisonment by the apartheid  government separated the couple. They reunited when he was released in 1994 but divorced in 1997.

‘The Mandela Name Is Our Name As Well:’ Nelson Mandela’s Granddaughters Discuss New Reality Show, ‘Being Mandela’

February 8th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: The Grio

Source: The Grio

It’s quite apparent that we are living in the age of reality television, where people from all walks of life invite the public into the their private lives by allowing camera crews to follow and document their every move. While these types of shows are generally frowned upon due to the negativity that they are commonly associated with, every once in a while, a positive show comes along, debunking the stereotype that all reality shows are bad. The latest show that offers the hope of reinforcing positive images of Black women in the media is Being Mandela, a reality show that will document the lives of Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s granddaughters, Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini. The Grio‘s Chris Withrerspoon recently sat down with the sisters to discuss their upcoming show. Check out some of what they had to say.

On why they chose to do reality TV:

“When we were initially approached, we took a lot of time to think about whether or not going down this avenue was the right thing for us to do in terms of reality TV. But, then, when we actually made the decision we thought this would be a great showcase for our country. We didn’t only produce Nelson Mandela. You know, there are also other things that are awesome about the country,” said Swati

On what we can expect to see on the show:

“…ourselves, our lives, our families are going to be on the show. My grandmother, she’ll be on the show, our mom, our siblings, some of our cousins… Through the show you actually get to see us as women, as mothers, as businesswomen. So it’s kind of just insight into how we live our lives, ” expressed Swati

On getting permission from their grandparents to do the show:

“I mean we didn’t have to ask them. You know, my grandfather is 95, so we don’t actually go and ask him things like this. But, the Mandela name is our name as well, so he entrusts us to do well by the name, respect the name, to treat it with integrity, to produce something he can be proud of. So, we just know he supports us in everything that we do and we take pride in our name so we would never do anything to tarnish the name in anyway,” said  Zaziwe.

On their grandfather’s health:

“His health is very good. He’s surrounded by family. We go to the house all the time. He’s really happiest the most when he spends time with his great grandchildren. So before we came on the trip we literally went to go see him to say bye. So he’s in really really good spirits. We’re very happy,” said Zaziwe.

Being Mandela premieres on Cozi TV February 10th at 9:00 pm ET.

Check out footage of the interview on the next page. What do you think of the Mandela heiresses getting their own reality show?

The Next Chapter For “Oprah’s Next Chapter”: Five People I Would Like to See On Her Couch

August 29th, 2012 - By Charing Ball
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Despite my earnest efforts to try to help Oprah save her fledgling network, she is still hell bent on doing it her way – mainly by interviewing us to death.

And who can blame her? Oprah’s signature program, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” has produced the second highest viewership in the short lived network’s history.  Yet as the viewership numbers appears to be looking up for O, Oprah might be running out of A-listers willing to appear on the show and it looks like she is scrounging through the bottom of the barrel looking for quality interviews. It has also been reported that she has even considered getting OJ Simpson on her show so that she can get him to confess to the 1992 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. I guess there is nothing like circling the drain of failure to force you to go back on your very public vow to never have OJ on as a guest.

Nevertheless, since Oprah insists on doing things her way, I’m still willing to help a sister out. What can I say? Oprah is my shero. Therefore, as a hard and fast stan, who wants to see her succeed, I have put on my thinking cap and came up with a list of five people Oprah should consider interviewing for her next chapter:


Lil’ Kim.

What Will Make Her a Good Guest: Seriously this woman is screaming for a sit down, tell all (and I mean ALL) interview. There is no more intriguing person right now in my mind than Lil Kim. Not only was she the pioneer in the smut rap genre, her rise to fame crosses all sorts of intersections between race and gender and sexuality. She even had good Christian girls walking around, talking about, I used to be scared of the d**k, now I throw lips to the s**t, handle it like a real b****h… Heck, I bet after reading this, about a dozen people went straight to YouTube to pull up her entire archive of music.

What Oprah Should Ask Her: Listen, there is no need to beat around the bush. Just go right in and ask her, “What the hell happened to your face?” Maybe not in that manner, but you get what I’m saying. Then you can talk about what’s holding her back from a comeback; her beef with Minaj; her time in prison and her relationship with Biggie Smalls. But most importantly talk about her face. Heck make it a two-part special. After Oprah gets down to exposing all the pathology behind her…er…transformation into a Puerto Rican cat, she can then hand the reigns over to Iyanla Vanzant, who can lay hands on her, do some chanting and help Kim find her inner peace.  On a more serious note: body dysmorphic disorder is a very real thing, even in the African American community. And with so many folks of darker hues doing all sorts of craziness like skin bleaching to appear lighter, that interview could help lots of folks work through some of the same sort of self-esteem issues we’ve seen on full display with Kim.