10 April 2018

South Africa: Winnie - Film Reveals Apartheid State's Strategic Attempts to Tarnish Her Public Image

analysis

The 2017 documentary 'Winnie', to be broadcast on e.tv on Wednesday evening, tells a side of the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela story which is rarely heard. Former apartheid security operatives openly tell the camera how they worked to plant negative stories about Madikizela-Mandela in the national and international media - and the pressure that was exerted on Nelson Mandela and the ANC to cut ties with the "Mother of the Nation". By REBECCA DAVIS.

Former Security Branch operative Vic McPherson sits in a sunny garden patting his dog. He addresses the camera readily, recounting his experience of arresting "terrorists" - by which he means ANC members - with an occasional self-satisfied grin.

In 1989, he explains, he was charged with running the apartheid government's covert strategic communications (Stratcom) operation.

"I had 40 journalists working directly or indirectly for me," he boasts.

Stories planted by McPherson and his team would routinely end up on the front page of newspapers. And their major target: Winnie Mandela.

McPherson is the most chilling presence in filmmaker Pascale Lamche's 2017 documentary Winnie, and his contributions to the film are some of the most eye-opening.

Alongside McPherson's revelations sit those of former national intelligence head Niel Barnard and...

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