Winnie Mandela: fighting for 20 years
London — The wife of black South African activist Nelson Mandela says she is certain that the time will come when Mandela will be freed from prison and blacks will get what they are fighting for. Winnie Mandela took up her husband's cause of resistance to white minority rule when he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. For the past 20 years, Mrs. Mandela has experienced periodic arrests, detentions, solitary confinement, and internal exile.
After growing up in the remote Traskei tribal homeland, she went to Johannesburg to study social work in 1956. That year, she met Nelson Mandela, a lawyer who was already a well-known political figure. The Mandelas were married in 1958.
Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress, spent much of his time addressing meetings around the country and organizing against apartheid. He was later forced underground. In 1961, he was sentenced to five years in jail and later to life imprisonment.
Mrs. Mandela got her first banning order in 1962 and later became so used to summary arrest that she kept a packed suitcase on the ready. She was sentenced to jail for 17 months in 1969. Her banning order was lifted in 1975, but after organizing a parents' solidarity committee against apartheid in 1976, she was banished to a remote town, where she took up her role as a social worker.