Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is now 77 years old, and a record kept by her while in detention in 1969 has recently been published. '491 Days' is a collection not just of journal writings but also of letters between Nelson and Winnie Mandela when both were imprisoned simultaneously.
It's an interesting glimpse into the personality and history of a woman who continues to exert a certain fascination, and it makes it clear just how difficult it must have been in parts for the children growing up as Mandelas.
Just over a month ago, after the launch of her prison memoir 491 Days in Durban, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela gave an interview to the city's Daily News. Talking about the increasing frequency of Marikana-type protests, she said: "God help us if one day the masses of this country rise against the state".
From a woman who devoted the lion's share of her life to struggling against the state, it's quite a telling statement. There's an implicit divide between "us" and "the masses" in it, and Winnie, perhaps disconcertingly, can no longer situate herself among "the masses" in good faith. It's a seeming acknowledgement that new elites replaced old elites in the political...