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You don't take nothing with you but your soul

by anna at 09:57 AM on May 10, 2003

Let's suppose you're a virile married man who gets wrongfully imprisoned. Not in one of those min-sec country clubs with conjugal visits and tennis courts, but hard time. Most likely your sex life would consist of masturbation and maybe visits from other inmates. You finally win your freedom after 27 years. What's you first order of business? Making up for lost time, that's what. You'd be all over you wife, pestering her for sex 24-7. You'd make post-Viagra Bob Dole look like a eunuch.

Oddly, that wasn't the case with noted anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela. The whole time he was in prison his lovely wife Winnie stood by him and championed his cause. Now granted, there were rumors of infidelity with younger men, to say nothing of alleged extortion, kidnapping and murder. But hey, women have needs too. 27 years is a long time to go without.

He gets out in 1990 and immediately launches a vendetta against none other than his wife. By 1991 she'd begun serving a six year sentence in connection with the kidnapping of four youths, one of whom was brutally murdered.

He didn't stick by her as she had him. The couple separated in '92 and their divorce became final four years later. By which point her conviction had been overturned. The Mandela regime thus appointed her to a number of influential posts. She performed her duties admirably. Still rumors of corruption and shady deals persisted. This culminated in her most recent prison stint. Last month she began serving a five year sentence at age 67. She's reportedly in failing health.

Nelson could have averted this travesty. Though he's since retired from government, surely he still wields considerable power behind the scenes. It's as if Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-Hell) finally got convicted in connection with her Whitewater shenanigans. Don't think for a second that Bubba would stand by and watch her get railroaded. And they're not exactly on the best of terms either. The parallels are striking. Why then the difference? Why didn't Nelson pull some strings to bail his ex out?

Possible explanations abound. Maybe Nelson found that she hadn't aged so gracefully. Except she looks positively radiant in the link above.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but that hasn't always been my experience. To me prolonged absence makes one start searching for a suitable replacement. Maybe that's the case with the Mandelas. Except in his case, the only potential replacements were other guys. So unless you believe his sexual orientation somehow changed while incarcerated, that theory is kaput.

Upon release Nelson immersed himself in his work. He is a deeply principled man, so perhaps he was able to put his convictions before his primal lust. But let's face it, guys are guys and most think with their gonads. So unless you believe he secretly paid a visit to Mr. Wang, that's out too.

Whatever the reason, it seems clear this great visionary's judgment grows clouded when it comes to dealing with the wayward Winnie. She's like his Achilles heel.

Forget Mumia Abu-Jamal, free Winnie Mandela.

comments (5)

Alternate title: You don't tug on Superman's cape. Also, it has come to my attention that Winnie is known as the "mother of the nation." So call this a Mother's Day post. Happy M/D to all moms, especially mine.

by Anna at May 10, 2003 11:12 AM

Hmmmn. I was under the very strong impression that he didn't exactly bond with her post-prison because she had spent so much of her time while he was there engaged in total lawlessness. It's a little hard to stand by someone who is known to be running a posse of youth devoted to kidnapping, beating and killing. And her post-divorce antics have only borne this out, what with the whole stealing money thing.

Here's just one link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2115569.stm

I guess it's all in how you interpret the same facts. You read the story as Winnie being railroaded. That is not the view of anyone but her fellow hooligans within South Africa.

by jadedju at May 10, 2003 12:16 PM

So take that Anna, you South African hooligan!

by mg at May 10, 2003 12:50 PM

I actually did some research for this one and you're right, Winnie M. was totally out of control. She had this mafia-like "football team" that terrorized the community. But I needed a satirical angle and I chose the "railroading."

by Anna at May 10, 2003 1:52 PM

It's all about the diamonds, boy...

by lockheed at May 12, 2003 6:25 PM

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