It seems fitting that she was named Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe, the fifth of nine children born to Columbus and Gertrude Madikizela in the Transkei in September 1936. Fitting because the word means attempts or endeavours, so that Nomzamo is the mother of all endeavours; one who will try anything, who believes nothing is impossible, who does not factor giving up into her way of thinking. Whether you loved her or found grievous fault with her, you have to admit that Winnie Mandela, in her 81 years, was not one to shy away from a fight, from the limelight, from scandal. Nomzamo, the name dictionary says, also means “struggle”. That’s fitting too since Winnie Madikizela Mandela has encountered and endured Sisyphus-like ordeals. Who’s to say whether she’s come out unscathed?There has almost always been a whiff of scandal around Winnie; rumours of excessive drinking, of romantic liaisons outside of her marriage to the world’s most famous political prisoner and the man who ended apartheid, N...

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