South Africa Decline and Fall of a Heroine

Why Winnie Mandela is an outcast among black leaders

When Winnie Mandela defied the government's orders and returned to Soweto from banishment in the Orange Free State three years ago, she was hailed by millions of her fellow South Africans as the Mother of the Nation. Idolized by the township's teenagers, she was carried on their shoulders into political funerals and was constantly surrounded on the streets by dancing youngsters chanting "Man-del-a, Man-del-a." To much of the outside world she became the grande dame of the South African revolution, a worthy surrogate for her husband Nelson, the imprisoned black nationalist leader. But Winnie, 52, was a strong, willful person who...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!