JOHANNESBURG, April 25 — Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, was sentenced today to four years in prison on dozens of counts of theft and fraud.I opposed apartheid as an elementary and middle schooler, Ms M-M, but I must reaffirm the fact that two wrongs don't make a right.
On Thursday, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela, one of the most powerful leaders in the fight against apartheid, was convicted for her part in a scheme to steal more than $100,000 from false bank loans and funeral policies.
Many of the loans had been granted to poor people, who would not have qualified without signed letters from Ms. Madikizela-Mandela. In sentencing today, however, the judge, Peet Johnson, made clear that she also profited from the deals.
Addy Moolman, a broker and business associate, was sentenced to seven years in prison, with two years suspended. He and Ms. Madikizela-Mandela said they would appeal.
The judge said Ms. Madikizela-Mandela could be released on parole after eight months in prison and be required to perform community service for the remainder of her term. His long explanatory statement revealed the weight of the judgment on the court and the country. (full story)
But beyond that, as a semi-casual international observer of this particular news story, I wonder, is there a greater implication from Winnie's corruption, regarding the country as a whole? After the fall of outright institutionalized hate and racisim 9 years ago, South Africa was supposed to be Africa's great beacon of hope, and a place friendly to foreign investment. Is it fair to include Winnie's conviction, at least symbolically, as part of the "what went wrong" narrative? Will Marissa edit her thesis? (hehehe) My answer is, I'm not sure.(on all counts, though I'm sure Marissa will be revising something in there, hehe)
Anyway, I don't have anymore time for commentary right now, as I am heading up to Pauley Canyon for the show.