Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, is in the news again, after forensic scientists exhumed the bodies believed to belong to two young activists, Lolo Sono and Sibuniso Tshabalala, who were last seen 24 years ago at her home. A new police investigation has been launched into the fate of the two young men, when Madikizela-Mandela was accused of killing people she accused of spying for the apartheid government.
South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the late 1990s found that Madikizela-Mandela was responsible for the disappearances of 21-year-old Lolo Sono and his friend Sibuniso Tshabalala, 19. They were messengers for the armed wing of the African National Congress and wanted to become freedom fighters.
Madikizela-Mandela has denied all knowledge of the two. But her chief bodyguard, Jerry Richardson, told the commission that he and a colleague had killed the two on her orders. Richardson was head of the Mandela United Football Club, a crowd of young men who acted as Madikizela-Mandela’s bodyguards and also as vigilantes who, some charge, she used to get rid of enemies. Source
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. South Africa has been in the news a lot lately for violence, with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp by paralympian Oscar Pistorius, and the dragging and beating death of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia at the hands of police officers. Maybe this exhumation will bring closure to the families of Lolo Sono and Sibuniso Tshabalala, as well as bring to justice whoever is responsible for their deaths.
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