Book review: Truth, Lies and Alibis – A Winnie Mandela story
The author provides the facts of what happened to Stompie Seipei, clearly showing that Madikizela-Mandela might have indeed got away with murder.
Truth, Lies and Alibis – A Winnie Mandela Story
Could the late icon Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, the British and Zambian governments and former appeal court judge and the first chief justice of a democratic South Africa Michael Corbett have collaborated to prevent Winnie Madikizela-Mandela going to jail for Stompie Seipei’s murder?
This book offers a different version to what has been reported – that Winnie had nothing to do with his killing – pointing to high-profile political conspiracy between apartheid authorities and the ANC. It posits that the former child activist from Parys in the Free State was sacrificed so as not to derail then ongoing multiparty constitutional negotiations prior to 1994.
According to the book, young Stompie was the “sacrificial lamb” for the freedom of black South Africans. It explains Nelson Mandela’s role in ensuring his wife was not jailed and how ANC operatives at party headquarters abducted a key witness Katiza Cebekhulu and took to Lusaka, Zambia, so he could not give damning evidence that would incriminate the “Mother of the Nation”.
The author of Truth, Lies and Alibis – A Winnie Mandela Story, Fred Bridgland is unsympathetic towards Madikizela-Mandela. He provides the facts of what happened, clearly showing that she might have indeed got away with murder.
Bridgland comes up with jaw-dropping existing evidence including that she was seen allegedly stabbing Seipei with a hiny object before he died that the courts completely ignored and which could have put her behind bars for a very long time, far longer than the six years jail term she received for kidnapping that was suspended on appeal.
The author lays bare that Madikizela-Mandela’s influence or her hand was behind every incident of abduction and torture, not only of Stompie but other youngsters, at her Soweto home and the subsequent deaths of some.
The writer chronicles how Mandela and the ANC, De Klerk and his Cabinet, the judiciary, the prosecution, the police and even the UK and Zambian governments sided with Madikizela-Mandela at the expense of her alleged victims who were subject to abuse by Winnie and her notorious Mandela Football Club.
Then justice minister Kobie Coetsee and the UK ambassador to South Africa negotiated with the judiciary to be lenient on Madikizela-Mandela as De Klerk had decided that her case must be handled carefully. Subsequently the appeal court changed Winnie’s six-year sentence to a suspended sentence and refused to entertain the question of her false alibi.
Bridgland reveals that Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda has said he was instructed by Mandela to imprison Cebekhulu. An apartheid police officer has confessed that they deliberately did not investigate certain allegations made against Madikizela-Mandela on the basis of a political order.
They even shredded a crucial tape recording from tapping Madikizela-Mandela’s telephone which showed that her alibi that she was not in Soweto but in Brandfort between December 29 and 31 1988, the time in which Stompie was murdered, was false.
The police deliberately did not hand over the evidence in court and the prosecution also ignored it. This contradicts long the held view that linking her to Stompie’s murder was a police conspiracy.
The author credits the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for having done a better job than the courts, but lambastes the blunder made by commission chairperson Desmond Tutu, who jumped the gun by asking the victims’ families to come to the front and shake hands and reconcile with Winnie just as crucial evidence began to emerge exposing her lie about her alibi.
The book also touches on Reverend Paul Verryn, who was vindicated of Madikizela-Mandela’s allegation that he sodomised young boys at his Soweto church manse. The cleric was proved innocent and it emerged that Madikizela-Mandela was in fact jealous of his work in the community.
Then there is the sad story of Dr Abu Baker Asvat, who was shot dead in his Soweto surgery by a youth allegedly hired by her. This resulted in permanent tension between Madikizela-Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, who was Asvat’s nurse, and was present when he was shot in cold blood.
Unfortunately, the real truth with never be known because Madikizela-Mandela has passed away, but in this book Bridgland does his best to tell the untold story.
Truth, Lies and Alibis – A Winnie Mandela story
Author: Fred Bridgland
Publisher: Tafelberg, 2018
ISBN: 0624084256, 9780624084259