Magazine article The Nation

Pedestal Politics

Magazine article The Nation

Pedestal Politics

Article excerpt

On February 16, when the United Democratic Front ostracized Winnie Mandela for condoning the violence of her bodyguards, network news discovered that it is, after all, possible to film the activities of black leaders in South Africa. The story played as the tragedy of a fallen idol. But who put Winnie Mandela on a pedestal in the first place?

Years of house arrest and detention gave Nelson Mandela's wife exceptional moral stature, and in their rash search for heroes and heroines, some outside South Africa adopted her as emblem and substitute for the movement she represented. What was reported of her life in recent years was selective: the apparent endorsement of "necklacing"; the palatial house in Soweto; the exploitation of the Mandela name. Because the name and the mass movement had become interchangeable, the movement suffered when the symbol was tarnished -even when the townships had begun to question whether the symbol might have become a liability. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.