Few people have courted as much controversy or evoked such strong and divergent emotions as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Adored by some, abhorred by others, she bears a name famous throughout the world, yet not many people know the woman behind the headlines, myths and controversies, or the details of the fascinating story that is her life.
This intimate, in-depth and unbiased biography reveals the enigma that is Winnie Mandela, by exploring both her personal and political life. The reader is given a rare glimpse into Winnie's strict yet happy rural upbringing, where the foundations were laid for her faith, compassion and indomitable resolve. As a young social worker in 1950s Johannesburg, her beauty, style and character captivated the political activist and Tembu prince, Nelson Mandela. Together, they personified the rising aspirations and political awakening of their people, and, in so doing, inspired a nation.
Through her fierce determination and dauntless courage, she survived her husband's imprisonment, continuous harassment by the security police, banishment to a small Free State town, betrayal by friends and allies, and more than a year in solitary confinement – all the while keeping the struggle flame alight and the name of Nelson Mandela alive.
A sensitive and balanced portrayal, the book nevertheless thoroughly investigates and honestly examines the controversies that have dogged Winnie Mandela in recent years: the allegations of kidnapping and murder, her divorce from Mandela, and the charges of fraud. Winnie Mandela: A Life takes the reader on a remarkable journey of understanding, painting a rich, warm and vivid portrait of one of the world's most charismatic, yet enigmatic, women.