South Africa Says Australia Retracted Claim of ‘Persecuted’ White Farmers


Last year, the Australian government paid $53 million in damages to migrants who said they suffered abuse in the camps. Mr. Dutton, who controls immigration policy, has been a staunch defender of offshore detention and has argued that Australia should not accept refugees who would be a burden on the country’s social safety net.

With his comments on South African farmers, Mr. Dutton was wading into a volatile, racially tinged debate. South Africa’s long-governing party, the African National Congress, proposed the land expropriation amendment because most South African farmland remains under white ownership more than 25 years after the end of apartheid.

In an initial response to Mr. Dutton’s comments, Ms. Sisulu said that nongovernmental organizations had been distributing inaccurate statistics about the killings of white farmers and sowing panic.

On Tuesday, Mr. Dutton’s office released a statement countering Ms. Sisulu’s assertions that the Turnbull government had retracted his comments.

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A cross marks a road to a monument in Ysterberg, South Africa, that commemorates white farmers who have been killed. The issue of violence against farmers in South Africa has become a rallying point for white nationalists and the far right.

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Gulshan Khan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The statement does not accurately reflect the prime minister or minister for foreign affairs’ position on this matter,” the statement said. “There was no rebuttal of the words of Minister Dutton.”

Mr. Dutton’s comments on the farmers drew sharp condemnation from refugee advocates who, citing his perceived indifference to nonwhite asylum seekers who are being held on Manus Island and Nauru, saw him favoring certain refugees because of their race.

“Refugee advocates found Dutton’s comments so alarming because we have a fundamental belief in a nondiscriminatory immigration policy,” said Jana Favero, who works with the Asylum Seeker Resource Center, which is based in Australia.

“The comments that Dutton made about how ‘they would integrate’ and that ‘they’re the sort of people we want coming to Australia’ insinuates that there are the wrong kind of people coming to Australia,” she added.

While Mr. Dutton’s remarks drew widespread criticism, they also struck a chord among some white nationalists for whom the plight of South African farmers had become a rallying point.

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In late January, Lauren Southern, a far-right Canadian commentator, published a trailer for her upcoming documentary “Farmlands” on the killings of South African farmers that featured dire warnings of an impending race war. The trailer carried the tagline “CRISIS. OPPRESSION. GENOCIDE?”

The issue has also been covered at length on AltRight.com, a website run by Richard B. Spencer, the American white nationalist.

In a television interview last month, Ms. Bishop, the Australian foreign minister, appeared to dampen talk of special visas for South Africans.

“I believe the humanitarian programs’ credibility comes from the fact that it is nondiscriminatory and that each application is assessed on its merits,” she said. “That’s been the case under the Turnbull government and as far as I’m aware, there are no plans to change that visa program.”

In the wake of Ms. Sisulu’s remarks about the retraction, the Australian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the country’s visa system did not favor certain races.

“The prime minister and the ministers for foreign affairs and home affairs have been clear and consistent in reiterating that Australia’s current humanitarian visa program is nondiscriminatory, with each application assessed on its merits,” the statement said. “The program can accommodate those fearing persecution.”

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Is Dead at 81; Fought Apartheid


“Nobody knows him better than I do,” she told a British interviewer in 2013.

Increasingly, though, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela resented the notion that her anti-apartheid credentials had been eclipsed by her husband’s global stature and celebrity, and she struggled in vain in later years to be regarded again as the “mother of the nation,” a sobriquet acquired during the innie-mandela-endures.html”>long years of Mr. Mandela’s imprisonment. She insisted that her contribution had been wrongly depicted as a pale shadow of his.

“I am not Mandela’s product,” she told an interviewer. “I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy” — references to South Africa’s white rulers under apartheid and to her burning hatred of them, rooted in her own years of mistreatment, incarceration and banishment.

Conduit to Her Husband

While Mr. Mandela was held at the Robben Island penal settlement, off Cape Town, where he spent most of his 27 years in jail, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela acted as the main conduit to his followers, who hungered for every clue to his thinking and well-being. The flow of information was meager, however: Her visits there were rare, and she was never allowed physical contact with him.

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Ms. Madikizela-Mandela attended her husband’s trial in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1962.

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Associated Press

In time, her reputation became scarred by accusations of extreme brutality toward suspected turncoats, misbehavior and indiscretion in her private life, and a radicalism that seemed at odds with Mr. Mandela’s quest for racial inclusiveness.

She nevertheless sought to remain in his orbit. She was at his side, brandishing a victor’s clenched fist salute, when he was finally released from prison in February 1990.

At his funeral, in December 2013, she appeared by his coffin in mourning black — positioning herself almost as if she were the grieving first lady — even though Mr. Mandela had married Graça Machel, the widow of the former Mozambican president Samora Machel, in 1998, on his 80th birthday, six years after separating from Ms. Madikizela-Mandela and two years after their divorce. It was Mr. Mandela’s third marriage.

In 2016, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela began legal efforts to secure the ownership of Mr. Mandela’s home in his ancestral village of Qunu. She contended that their marriage had never been lawfully dissolved and that she was therefore entitled to the house, which Mr. Mandela had bequeathed to his descendants. High Court judges rejected that argument in April. After learning that she had lost the case, she was hospitalized.

Her lawyers said she would appeal the High Court judgment.

‘She Who Must Endure’

Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela was born to a noble family of the Xhosa-speaking Pondo tribe in Transkei. Her first name, Nomzamo, means “she who must endure trials.”

Her birth date was Sept. 26, 1936, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and many other sources, although earlier accounts gave the year as 1934.

Her father, Columbus, was a senior official in the so-called homeland of Transkei, according to innie-madikizela-mandela”>South African History Online, an unofficial archive, which described her as the fourth of eight children. (Other accounts say her family was larger.) Her mother, Gertrude, was a teacher who died when Winnie was 8, the archive said.

As a barefoot child she tended cattle and learned to make do with very little, in marked contrast to her later years of free-spending ostentation. She attended a Methodist mission school and then the Hofmeyr School of Social Work in Johannesburg, where she befriended Adelaide Tsukudu, the future wife of Oliver Tambo, a law partner of Mr. Mandela’s who went on to lead the A.N.C. in exile. She turned down a scholarship in the United States, preferring to remain in South Africa as the first black social worker at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto.

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The Mandelas were married in June 1958.

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Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

One day in 1957, when she was waiting at a bus stop, Nelson Mandela drove past. “I was struck by her beauty,” he wrote in his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom.” Some weeks later, he recalled, “I was at the office when I popped in to see Oliver and there was this same young woman.”

Mr. Mandela, approaching 40 and the father of three, declared on their first date that he would marry her. Soon he separated from his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase, a nurse, to marry Ms. Madikizela-Mandela on June 14, 1958.

Ms. Madikizela-Mandela was thrust into the limelight in 1964 when her husband was sentenced to life in prison on charges of treason. She was officially “banned” under draconian restrictions intended to make her a nonperson, unable to work, socialize, move freely or be quoted in the South African news media, even as she raised their two daughters, Zenani and Zindziswa.

In a crackdown in May 1969, five years after her husband was sent to prison, she was arrested and held for 17 months, 13 in solitary confinement. She was beaten and tortured. The experience, she wrote, was “what changed me, what brutalized me so much that I knew what it is to hate.”

After blacks rioted in the segregated Johannesburg township of Soweto in 1976, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela was again imprisoned without trial, this time for five months. She was then banished to a bleak township outside the profoundly conservative white town of Brandfort, in the Orange Free State.

“I am a living symbol of whatever is happening in the country,” she wrote in “Part of My Soul Went With Him,” a memoir published in 1984 and printed around the world. “I am a living symbol of the white man’s fear. I never realized how deeply embedded this fear is until I came to Brandfort.”

Contrary to the authorities’ intentions, her cramped home became a place of pilgrimage for diplomats and prominent sympathizers, as well as foreign journalists seeking interviews.

Ms. Madikizela-Mandela cherished conversation with outsiders and word of the world beyond her confines. She scorned many of her restrictions, using whites-only public phones and ignoring the segregated counters at the local liquor store when she ordered Champagne — gestures that stunned the area’s whites.

Banishment Took Toll

Still, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela’s exclusion from what passed as a normal life in South Africa took a toll, and she began to drink heavily. During her banishment, moreover, her land changed. Beginning in late 1984, young protesters challenged the authorities with increasing audacity. The unrest spread, prompting the white rulers to acknowledge what they called a “revolutionary climate” and declare a state of emergency.

When Ms. Madikizela-Mandela returned to her home in Soweto in 1985, breaking her banning orders, it was as a far more bellicose figure, determined to assume leadership of what became the decisive and most violent phase of the struggle. As she saw it, her role was to stiffen the confrontation with the authorities.

The tactics were harsh.

“Together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we will liberate this country,” she told a rally in April 1986. She was referring to “necklacing,” a form of sometimes arbitrary execution by fire using a gas-soaked tire around a supposed traitor’s neck, and it shocked an older generation of anti-apartheid campaigners. But her severity aligned her with the young township radicals who enforced commitment to the struggle.

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Ms. Madikizela-Mandela was surrounded by supporters in the black township of Kagiso in 1986.

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Associated Press

In the late 1980s, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela allowed the outbuildings around her residence in Soweto to be used by the so-called Mandela United Football Club, a vigilante gang that claimed to be her bodyguard. It terrorized Soweto, inviting infamy and prosecution.

In 1991 she was convicted of ordering the 1988 kidnapping of four youths in Soweto. The body of one, a 14-year-old named James Moeketsi Seipei — nicknamed Stompie, a slang word for a cigarette butt, reflecting his diminutive stature — was found with his throat cut.

Ms. Madikizela-Mandela’s innie-mandela-s-ex-bodyguard-tells-of-killings-she-ordered.html”>chief bodyguard was convicted of murder. She was sentenced to six years for innie-mandela-given-sentence-of-6-years-in-kidnapping-case.html”>kidnapping, but South Africa’s highest appeals court reduced her punishment to fines and a suspended one-year term.

By then her life had begun to unravel. The United Democratic Front, an umbrella group of organizations fighting apartheid and linked to the A.N.C., expelled her. In April 1992, Mr. Mandela, midway through settlement talks with President F. W. de Klerk of South Africa, announced that he and his wife were separating. (She dismissed suggestions that she had wanted to be known by the title “first lady.” “I am not the sort of person to carry beautiful flowers and be an ornament to everyone,” she said.)

Two years later, Mr. Mandela was elected president and offered her a minor job as the deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology. But after allegations of influence peddling, bribetaking and misuse of government funds, she was forced from office. In 1996, Mr. Mandela ended their 38-year marriage, testifying in court that his wife was having an affair with a colleague.

Only in 1997, at the behest of Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu at South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, did Ms. Madikizela-Mandela offer an apology for the events of the late 1980s. “Things went horribly wrong,” she said, adding, “For that I am deeply sorry.”

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Ms. Madikizela-Mandela at a 2009 gathering to honor her former husband, who died four years later.

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Alexander Joe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Yet the catalog of missteps continued, cast into sharp relief by her haughty dismissiveness toward her accusers. In 2003 she was in-theft-and-fraud-case.html”>convicted of using her position as president of the A.N.C. Women’s League to obtain fraudulent loans; she was sentenced to five years in prison. But her sentence was again suspended on appeal, with a judge finding that she had not gained personally from the transactions.

To the end, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela remained a polarizing figure in South Africa, admired by loyalists who were prepared to focus on her contribution to ending apartheid, vilified by critics who foremost saw her flaws. Few could ignore her unsettling contradictions, however.

“While there is something of a historical revisionism happening in some quarters of our nation these days that brands Nelson Mandela’s second wife a revolutionary and heroic figure,” the columnist Verashni Pillay innie-mandela-let-us-down”>wrote in the South African newspaper The Mail and Guardian, “it doesn’t take that much digging to remember the truly awful things she has been responsible for.”

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