“He was acting for the public;” why Winnie Mandela never forgave Desmond Tutu

The death of South Africa’s Desmond Tutu was met with controversies. Of major concern is the revival of a longstanding conversation popular among South Africans. How he treated Winnie Mandela, a fellow South African anti-apartheid activist and politician who was the second wife of Nelson Mandela.

Winnie was hauled before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1997 where Desmond tutu made an appeal for her to apologize for the death of Stompie Seipei who was then believed to be a police informant.

A considerable number of South Africans think Winnie was badly treated. Since the death of Tutu, Mandela’s name has trended on social media with some South Africans saying they will never forget how she was treated.

In an interview prior to her death, Winnie Mandela accused Tutu of engaging in a populism during the commission hearing. “He (Desmond Tutu) was acting there for the public, acting for stratcom, begging me to say I was sorry as if I was responsible for apartheid? I mean how dare, really?” Winnie said.

She reminded the host that, she “kept the fire burning when everybody was petrified and I didn’t blame them because those dark forces of apartheid were killing our people… they put me on trial before the TRC and Desmond Tutu seats there judging me?”

In the same video, Tutu was heard saying, “I beg you, I beg you, I beg you, please, I have not made any particular finding about what happened. You are a great person and you do not know your greatness will be enhanced if you said: ‘Sorry, things went horribly wrong,” in reference to Winnie.

Meanwhile, Desmond Tutu said after the death of Winnie that “her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists. I am humbled to have known her. I admired and respected her. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”

A section of South Africans have so far spoken against her treatment since Tutu’s demise. What do you think about the unfolding conversation so far?

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