Wife killer Akolade Arowolo found guilty of murder, sentenced to death

Today is a day of great joy for me. It is a day of celebrating Nigeria’s justice system. The judiciary has finally made an example of a young man who became the croan prince of domestic violence in Nigeria.

Akolade Arowolo is a young man who murdered his wife in cold blood 3 years ago. He stabbed and slashed her up so badly the corpse was barely recognizable. He did try to defend himself by saying she stabbed herself to death but how anyone manages to stab themselves 76 times leaves me totally bewildered and I guess the judge was stumped too.

The death sentence does not do much for me (I dont subscribe to it) but I do wish he had been sentenced to life in prison so he could leisurely watch his life waste away. But the court has had its way and to the extent that justice is served, I am perfectly satisfied.


31-year-old Akolade Arowolo standing trial for allegedly killing his banker wife, Titilayo, on June 24, 2011 has today been sentenced to death by hanging by an Ikeja High court.

A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced to death Akolade Arowolo for the murder of his banker wife, Titilayo, who he repeatedly stabbed to death at their residence in Isolo, Lagos, on June 24, 2011.

Justice Lateefat Okunnu, in her judgment on Friday, held that even though there was no eyewitness to the incident, the circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution had proved the murder charge against the convict beyond all reasonable doubt.

“I pronouce the defendant guilty and accordingly sentenced to death,” the court held.

Okunnu relied on the testimony of the forensic pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa, who testified that there were at least 76 stab wounds found on the deceased.

Contrary to the convict’s claim during trial, Obafunwa had testified that the injuries must have been caused by sharp weapon applied on the deceased could not have been self-inflicted.

The judge said, “Applying the eliminating induction by eliminating other factors; judging by this case the factors, including the possibilities of another person entering the flat to stab the deceased to death, the possibility of the deceased stabbing herself and the possibility that the wounds were caused in autopsy room; it is my finding that no other persons but the defendant stabbed Omotunde to death.

“This established the causal link between the death and the defendant.”

The 32-year-old man, who was arraigned for murder on December 21, 2011, was said to have murdered his wife, Titilayo, at their residence at No. 8, Akindehinde Street, Isolo, Lagos.

The deceased was then an employee of Skye Bank Plc.

Obafunwa, who carried out the autopsy on the corpse of the deceased, had said there were at least 76 stab wounds on the body.

He described some of the wounds as penetrating the heart, and damaging other organs including, the diaphragm, lung and the liver of the deceased.

“I summarise the death of the deceased as caused by multiple injuries on the heart and abdomen due to knife and sharp blunt force trauma,” Obafunwa had told the court.

The prosecution led by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan, called 15 witnesses among whom were police officers and the father, sisters and step-mother of the deceased.

Arowolo in tears at the court after he was sentenced to death

Source: The Nigerian Monitor

Woman hacks husband to death out of fear he would infect her after he ‘inherited’ dead brother’s HIV-positive wife

Ok so I get the bit about trying to protect oneself from the virus but I do think this lady went a little too far, don’t you?

  • Annonciata  Kampororo hatched the murder plot with her son and her sister
  • She feared  her 48-year-old husband had caught HIV from late brother’s  wife
  • It is a  rural Rwandan tradition for men to ‘inherit’ widows of dead  family
  • Just over 3  per cent of the country’s population live with HIV

By Sara Malm

A Rwandan woman hacked her husband to death  with a machete for fear that he would infect her with HIV, local media  reports.

Annonciata Kampororo, said to be middle aged,  hatched a plot with her son and sister to kill her husband Anaclet Majyambere,  48, after he inherited his brother’s HIV-positive wife.

It is a tradition in some rural communities  in Rwanda for a man to ‘inherit’ the widow of a family member in order to  provide for them.

Murder: Annonciata Kampororo, said to be middle aged, hatched a plot with her son and sister to hack to death her husband Anaclet Majyambere, 48, with machetes after he inherited his brother's HIV-positive wife

Murder: Annonciata Kampororo, said to be middle  aged,  hatched a plot with her son and sister to hack to death her  husband Anaclet  Majyambere, 48, with machetes after he inherited his  brother’s HIV-positive  wife

It is believed the brother of Mr Majyambere,  a resident in Gisagara in southern Rwanda, died of AIDS.

His wife, a local liquor seller, feared that  the widow would also be infected and refused to sleep with Mr Majyambere until  he took an HIV test.

 When he refused to do so, she ‘withheld his  conjugal rights’ and began planning the murder, Sowetanlive reported.
Downtown in the Rwandan capital, Kigali: Just over 3 per cent of the Rwandan population - between 180,000 and 250,000 people - live with HIV. More than half are women and children, according to UNICEF statistics

Downtown in the Rwandan capital, Kigali: Just  over 3  per cent of the Rwandan population – between 180,000 and 250,000  people – live  with HIV. More than half are women and children, according to UNICEF  statistics

One night, Kampororo, her son and her sister  attacked Mr Majyambere with machetes and pestles and killed him.

It is estimated that just over 3 per cent of  the Rwandan population – between 180,000 and 250,000 people – live with  HIV.

More than half are women and children,  according to UNICEF statistics, and in 2011 a reported 170,000 children were  orphans as a result of AIDS.

Culled from dailymail.co.uk/

Husband sexually abuses wife with tree frog: charged with rape and animal cruelty

Sweetness, It never stops does it?! A tree frog?!!!! What on earth?

  • The accused is from Marsden, near  Brisbane, Australia
  • Understood to have carried out the acts  between 2005 and 2012
  • Detectives have alleged the woman was  drugged during the ordeals

By Daily Mail Reporter

A husband accused of drugging and sexually  abusing his wife with a tree frog has been charged with rape and  cruelty.

The man, from Marsden, near Brisbane,  Australia, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is understood to have  carried out the acts between 2005 and 2012.

He has been charged with multiple counts of  rape, sexual assault, stupefying, taking prohibited visual recordings and for  distributing them using email and websites.

A husband accused of drugging and sexually abusing his wife with a tree frog has been charged with rape and cruelty
A husband accused of drugging and sexually abusing his  wife with a tree frog has been charged with rape and cruelty

The man’s laptop and hard drive were sized  during a raid on the man’s home in 2012, reports The Australian.

Detectives have alleged the woman was drugged  with sedative and was therefore unaware of what was happening when the videos  and photos were taken which included sex acts performed on the sleeping woman  with a green tree frog.

The man is accused of uploading the videos  and photos to a pornography site and shared with other users videos  of sex acts being performed on his wife to another person.

Police allege the woman never granted consent  to her husband to take the images of her or upload them, reported the  website.

In 2012 the charges against him were withdraw, but  the case was re-opened following a review of the brief of evidence by the Office  for the Director of Public Prosecutions which ruled  there was sufficient evidence to recharge the man over the alleged offences due  to the quantity of electronic evidence involved.

The man is accused of uploading the videos and photos to a pornography site and shared with other users videos of sex acts being performed on his wife to another person

The man is accused of uploading the videos and photos to  a pornography site and shared with other users videos of sex acts being  performed on his wife to another person

Culled from dailymail.co.uk

‘Will you just die?’: Dying woman manages to reveal what boyfriend said to her as he stabbed her 40 times

The good thing about this story is that the woman in question lived long enough to identify her killer. The bad news is obvious. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Joanna Hall  was killed by out-of-work chef Steven Williams in Tenby,  Wales
  • The  30-year-old knifed her 40 times then went out to buy whisky
  • He laughed  down the phone when he finally dialled 999 five hours later
  • Joanna, 35,  named Williams as her killer before slipping into a coma
  • Jury  convicted him by 10-2 after hearing of her deathbed  accusation

By Dan Bloom

Tragedy: Joanna Hall, 35, lay dying for five hours after she was stabbed by Steven Williams

Tragedy: Joanna Hall, 35, lay dying for five hours after  she was stabbed by Steven Williams

A woman whose frenzied boyfriend stabbed and  slashed her 40 times named him as the culprit from her hospital bed, then  slipped into a coma and died.

Joanna Hall, 35, begged unemployed chef  Steven Williams to dial 999 as she lay bleeding on the floor but he waited five  hours – then laughed down the phone to the operator.

Williams told police a mystery knifeman had  broken in while he was shopping at Sainsbury’s.

But a jury found him guilty of murder after  they were told of his girlfriend’s deathbed confession.

Williams, 30, from Tenby, west Wales, is  expected to be jailed for life tomorrow.

Swansea Crown Court heard the pair had been  dating for about six months when Williams grew suspicious that his girlfriend  had given him a sexually transmitted disease.

On March 16 last year he arrived at her flat  in Tenby after drinking whisky and launched into an argument.

It escalated and he stabbed and slashed her  repeatedly across her breasts and stomach with a kitchen knife.

Then, as she lay bleeding on the floor,  Williams went out for 10 minutes to buy more whisky, sarcastically telling her  not to go anywhere while he was gone.

When she was eventually airlifted to hospital  in Swansea – only after she had started falling unconscious – Joanna had enough  energy to point the finger at Williams in conversations with police, hospital  staff and her sister Georgina before slipping into a coma from which she never  recovered.

Her life support machine was switched off  almost three weeks after the attack.

According to her sister, she said from her  deathbed: ‘It was Steven Williams. He  turned up at my flat after drinking whisky, there was an argument and he  flipped.

Joanna Hall 35, who was murdered by her boyfriend Steven Williams in Tenby, West Wales

A CCTV still of Steven Williams being arrested

Killing: Joanna Hall, left, had been dating Steven  Williams for about six months when he accused her of giving him a sexually  transmitted disease. CCTV captured the moment he was arrested outside a  supermarket, right

Murder: The pair both lived in the seaside town of Tenby, pictured (file photo)

Murder: The pair both lived in the seaside town of  Tenby, pictured (file photo)

‘He began stabbing me – then sat with me  smoking a cigarette and said: “Will you just die?”‘

The court was also read Joanna’s police  statement, which said: ‘He started  shouting at me and went into the kitchen and came back with a knife.

‘I asked him what he was going to do with it  and he said: “Watch me”.

‘He stabbed me in the back and the knife got  stuck but he managed to get it out and carried on stabbing me.’

Williams was arrested outside a nearby  supermarket shortly after the stabbing. He denied the attack throughout the trial –  but the jury was shown evidence of injuries he sustained as Joanna tried to  fight him off.

Prosecutor Elwen Evans described Joanna’s  injuries, some of which were too distressing to be published.

Caught: Police arresting Williams. He claimed a mystery knifeman had broken into the flat and stabbed Joanna

Caught: Police arresting Williams. He claimed a mystery  knifeman had broken into the flat and stabbed Joanna
Sentence: Williams is expected to be jailed for life tomorrow at Swansea Crown Court after he was found guilty

Sentence: Williams is expected to be jailed for life  tomorrow at Swansea Crown Court after he was found guilty

‘Her condition was very serious indeed,’ she  told the court. ‘She had suffered substantial blood loss.

‘She was flown by helicopter to hospital  where she underwent surgery and was put on a life support machine.

‘Her organs stopped functioning and she died  in April 2013, 20 days after the attack, but before going unconscious she was  able to give an account of what had happened to her.’

The jury found Williams guilty by a majority  of 10 to two, the smallest normally allowed in the law, after a three week  trial.

In a statement reported by WalesOnline, Joanna’s family said: ‘Williams  is an evil monster who needs to be locked away so that he can’t hurt anyone else  in the same way as Jo.

‘Nothing will bring Jo back or change the  heinous things that Williams did to her and unfortunately we now have to live  with that for the rest of our lives.’

He will be sentenced tomorrow. No psychiatric  reports were prepared.

Culled from dailymail.co.uk

California mother, boyfriend held for murder of 3-year-old daughter

Stories like this always leave me just a little confused. How can any parent allow this to happen to any child anywhere never mind one of their own?

Was the mother an eager participant or a docile onlooker? I still can’t figure out which is more evil. And yet. Another one of the great mysteries of the universe, that it is those who are least likely to look after their offspring that have the highest fecundity.

Though the manner in which this poor child died is painful, I know for a fact she is in a better place. May she rest in peace and may these two get their comeuppance.


Kayleigh Slusher, 3,  was found sexually abused and beaten to death in her Napa home. Her mother, Sara  Krueger, 23, and her mother’s boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner, 26, are facing  charges of homicide and murder with special circumstances.


Sara Krueger poses with Kayleigh among the many photos of the two Krueger posted on her Facebook account. Now, she’s accused of murdering the little blond haired girl.


Sara Krueger poses with Kayleigh  among the many photos of the two Krueger posted on her Facebook account. Now,  she’s accused of murdering the little blond haired girl.

A young mother and her boyfriend were arrested Sunday about 24 hours after  police found the woman’s 3-year-old daughter sexually assaulted and beaten to  death in their Napa, Calif., home, police say.

Sara Krueger, 23, and Ryan Scott Warner, 26, were found around 11 a.m. near  a Bay Area Rapid Transit train station in El Cerrito del Norte about 30 miles  south of their Napa home.Krueger and her boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner, 26, face charges of homicide and murder with special circumstances.


Krueger and her boyfriend, Ryan Scott  Warner, 26, face charges of homicide and murder with special circumstances.

Little Kayleigh Slusher, 3, was found sexually abused and beaten to death  around 1 p.m. Saturday.

The tiny blond-haired tot would have been 4 in May, police said.

Sara Krueger, 23, was arrested with her boyfriend Sunday after police found her 3-year-old daughter sexually abused and beaten to death.


Sara Krueger, 23, was arrested with  her boyfriend Sunday after police found her 3-year-old daughter sexually abused  and beaten to death.

The cold-hearted mother and her boyfriend were seen leaving their home with  luggage around 10 a.m. Saturday.

Both face charges of homicide and murder with special circumstances. There  could be a sexual assault charge, as well.

On social media, Krueger raved about how little Kayleigh made her ‘a better person.’


On social media, Krueger raved about  how little Kayleigh made her ‘a better person.’

An autopsy was set for Monday. The girl’s biological father, an inmate at San  Quentin State Prison, has been told of the girl’s death, KTVU-TV reported.

The family’s Napa apartment was the scene of a vigil for little Kayleigh on  Sunday. Photos show a pink and white Hello Kitty bicycle, with training wheels  attached, sitting on the porch.

Kayleigh Slusher, 3, was found sexually abused and beaten to death around 1 p.m. Saturday in her family’s Napa, Calif., home.


Kayleigh Slusher, 3, was found  sexually abused and beaten to death around 1 p.m. Saturday in her family’s Napa,  Calif., home.

About 50 people gathered with candles to remember the little girl, who is  shown smiling in photos on her mother’s Facebook page.

Krueger describes herself on social media as a “Full Time Mommy! :)” and has  captioned several photos of Kayleigh as her “beautiful little girl.”

The building property manager says that everything went downhill after Krueger’s boyfriend moved in with her 10 months ago.


The building property manager says  that everything went downhill after Krueger’s boyfriend moved in with her 10  months ago.

Krueger’s handle on Instagram is “kayleighsmami.” She describes herself as  “the proud mommy of a beautiful and smart lil girl named Kayleigh. She’s my  world. She’s made me a better person :)”

“I can’t believe it, I just can’t,” Kindra Kunkel, a friend of Krueger’s, told the San Francisco Chronicle as she sobbed over the  loss. “This is not Sara. This is not the girl I know. She fought so hard for her  little girl.”

Friends and neighbors gather for a memorial service for little Kayleigh, who authorities believe was killed by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend.


Friends and neighbors gather for a  memorial service for little Kayleigh, who authorities believe was killed by her  mother and her mother’s boyfriend.

The boyfriend, Warner, “moved in about 10 months ago, and it all went  downhill from there,” the building’s property manager, Elizabeth Chechourka told KTVU-TV.

Cops had responded multiple times, she said, on noise violations and reports  from neighbors that the girl had been abused.

Police were reportedly at the home just a week before the girl was  killed.

A makeshift memorial formed on the steps near the apartment where Kayleigh was found dead Saturday.


A makeshift memorial formed on the  steps near the apartment where Kayleigh was found dead Saturday.

“Management sent a letter to them about two and a half weeks ago saying,  ‘The authorities know about you, and you need to shape up or you’re gonna lose  your housing,'” Chechourka told the station.

Police told reporters that Warner and Krueger have past criminal records,  including drug charges.

The special-circumstances murder charge make the couple eligible for a life  without parole sentence, if convicted — or the possibility of the death  penalty, the Chronicle reported.

The accused are schedule to appear in court around 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time on  Tuesday.

sgoldstein@nydailynews.com or  follow on Twitter

I’m 78, he’s 39 but the age gap doesn’t affect things in the bedroom!

You take love where you find it right?


  • Divorced grandmother, Edna Martin, said  it was ‘love at first sight’ when she met husband Simon
  • She was nearly 70 at the time and he was  30
  • He said age gap doesn’t affect their sex  life as they’re ‘at it like rabbits’
  • Joan Lloyd, 68, has a toy boy in partner  Phil, 29
  • They met via Facebook
  • She said: ‘I love him to bits and we get  on so well’
  • But she once felt insecure about him  leaving her for younger woman
  • Edna worried Simon would regret not being  able to have children with her

By Lucy Waterlow

Edna Martin is 78 year old pensioner who  loves knitting, organ music – and a toy boy half her age.

The divorced grandmother from  Weston-super-Mare met husband Simon, 39, through their shared passion for organ  music and they both agree it was ‘love at first sight’.

The couple have made headlines around the  world due to their 39 year age gap and now they are sharing their story in a new  Channel 5 documentary.

39 year age gap: Edna and Simon Martin couldn't be happier

Edna’s children are all older than Simon, who  was a 30-year-old who had never kissed a girl and was still living with his  parents in Birmingham when they first met.

He admits: ‘I did like ladies but I hadn’t  had any success in any way.’

 That all changed when he met Edna, who was  nearly 70 at the time. They snuck off from an organ recital to share their first  kiss under the pier and have been inseparable ever since.

‘I can’t imagine being without Simon, he’s  the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night,’ Edna  said.

Edna admitted their age gap ‘doesn’t affect  things in the bedroom’, while Simon jokes they are ‘at it like rabbits.’ He  added: ‘You have to have a sense of humour about sex as it’s a ridiculous thing  anyway.’

Toy boy: Joan, 68, and Phil, 29, met through Facebook
Toy boy: Joan, 68, and Phil, 29, met through  Facebook

But despite their active sex life, there will  never be children. Something that Edna feared could have kept them  apart.

‘I told him to leave me because it would mean  he couldn’t have children – but thank god he didn’t,’ she said.

Edna needs a walking aid to get around and  she said her lack of mobility can be frustrating. But Simon says it doesn’t  bother him and he doesn’t notice the physical differences in their ages, nor  worries that he could face decades without his true love.

He explains: ‘I have physically disabilities  which mean my body has aged faster than someone else my age. So I will probably  have a shorter life span. We’ll just keep going as long as we can.’

While their union may be unusual, it is not  unique, as the Channel 5 documentary also shares the story  of pensioner Joan Lloyd, 68, who has had  a relationship with Phil Absolom, 29 for  the past 18 months.

‘I wanted to be with  someone who make me laugh and didn’t make me feel like I’m  older’

The couple live together in Abergele, North  Wales, after meeting via Facebook.

Joan had been married to her husband, David,  for 50 years and they had four children together. When he died of cancer four  years ago, he made her  promise to keep living her life to the full and not  become a lonely  widow.

She explains: ‘On his death bed he told me to  get new boobs and a lovely toy boy. He told me, “I’ll  be looking down on you  smiling, saying good for you Joan”. He made me  write it down in front of him  and sign it.’

Joan fulfilled her husband’s dying wishes by  getting a breast enlargement and went online to seek a new man.

She said: ‘I get on with young people so I  wanted a toy boy. I was going for someone who would make me laugh and not make  me feel like I’m older. I went on Facebook and got 700 messages from guys but  they weren’t what I wanted.’

However, she was then contacted by  Phil.

He said: ‘When I first saw picture I was  attracted to her so I sent her a message and it started from there.’

Joan said Phil helps her feel young
In love: Both pensioners say being with a younger man  makes them feel young and happy

Joan said: ‘I thought, he’s gorgeous, I  wouldn’t mind him.’

The couple went on a date and hit it off  instantly.

‘My legs were like jelly I thought, “he’s the  one I’m having,”‘ Joan recalls.

Now she says they can’t keep their hands off  each other. ‘We  do a lot of kissing and cuddling. I do like having sex with him and he does as  much as he can,’ she said. ‘I love him to  bits and we get on so well.’

Joan said she likes to try and stay young for  Phil by exercising daily and using sunbeds as she believes a tan gives her a  youthful look.

She also likes to dress in ‘sexy style  clothes’. She explains: ‘I like young stuff. People will say  you are too old to  wear something like that leave it to the younger  people but that’s not how I  feel. I don’t want to look like mutton  dressed as lamb but if I can dress young  and it looks nice I’m me, I’ll  buy it.’

The pensioner admits her desire to hold back  the years is part insecurity over Phil leaving her for a younger woman,  particularly if he wants to start a family.

‘I liked her  straight away but I was only 16, she was 45 I never  thought in a million years  that was going to happen’

But he assured her: ‘It costs half a million  to bring up a kid today. Think what I could do with that.’

She also found reassurance from his mother  who was surprisingly content about her son dating a woman more than twice his  age.

‘I was insecure I kept thinking he would  leave me. But I spoke to his mum and she told me she had never seen him so much  in love and that I  shouldn’t worry,’ Joan said.

Phil added that his mother is happy he found  Joan as he needs constant support because he has epilepsy.

Caused controversy: Marilyn first met husband William when he was 16 and she was 45

Caused controversy: Marilyn first met husband William  when he was 16 and she was 45

He said: ‘My previous relationship  with  girls my own age were terrible because they said they could handle  my epilepsy  but deep down they couldn’t. They would panic if I had a bad fit. If I haven’t  met someone like Joan I would have been single for  the rest of my life. My mum  is glad Joan looks after me.’

But another couple featured on the show  haven’t had as much understanding from friends and family because of the  difference in their years.

Marilyn, 53, from West Sussex, met her  husband William Buttigieg, 24, when he was only 16 as he was a friend of the  family.

She was a 45-year-old mother at the time who  was struggling with the symptoms of ME.

William said: ‘I liked her straight away but  I was only 16, she was 45 I never  thought in a million years that was going to  happen.’

However, one day when William was visiting  the family he went to see Marilyn to check she was ok when she was having a lie  down because of her condition and a kiss ‘just happened.’

The pair soon became an item and Marilyn said  she had no regrets despite the shock it caused to their friends and  family.

Endured nasty comments: The couple, now aged 53 and 24, wish people would be more accepting of their relationship

Endured nasty comments: The couple, now aged 53 and 24,  wish people would be more accepting of their relationship

She said: ’16 is a legal age. Men have been  doing it for generations and getting away with it.’

She added that William was mature for his age  and not like other 16-year-olds. He has certainly had to grow up fast thanks to  the relationship which has led to him facing taunts and even once being  physically attacked.

He said: ‘Quickly  my friends all disappeared, they all turned their backs on  me. It was like  society rejected us. It was like we had a disease and  people would catch  it.’

Marilyn added: ‘People  used to shout at him “granny shagger” and make nasty comments to  me saying it’s  dirty and wrong. A few times we’ve had to call the  police. Once some men set  upon him.’

The couple – like the others featured in the  documentary – wish people would be more understanding and accepting of their  love.

‘We  are just two normal people who fell in love with each other – just with an age  gap,’ Marilyn said.

Culled from dailymail.co.uk

Nelson Mandela and Winnie – portrait of a marriage

For those who have always thought ill (as I once did) of Nelson Mandela for divorcing Winnie, I have done a bit of research and of all the articles I read, I found this to be quite engaging.

Read and draw your conclusions.


A shy beauty turned volatile gang leader, Winifred Madikizela was a source of   pride and despair to her husband

Nelson and Winnie Mandela on their wedding day in 1958

Nelson and Winnie Mandela on their wedding day in 1958 Photo: REX FEATURES

When Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela married Nelson Mandela on June 14 1958, the   bride’s father warned his daughter: “If your man is a wizard then you must   become a witch.” His words turned out to be eerily prophetic.

The marriage between the world’s most famous political prisoner and the South   African liberation movement’s First Lady lasted 32 years, most of it   conducted in parallel worlds. For, within 20 months of the wedding, Mandela,   already the father of two daughters, was arrested for treason and began an   exile that would take him underground and then to prison for 27 years. By   the time he re-emerged in February 1990, the world – and Winnie – had   changed, and within two years the end of the marriage was announced by a   grim-faced Nelson at a press conference in front of the world’s media.

Over those three decades Winnie had metamorphosed from “shy country girl”, as   she once described herself to me, to political firebrand and international   celebrity, to street criminal and enemy of her own people, and later to   populist politician with no portfolio.

Throughout all of this she remained pretty much the same person, for, as the   South African political commentator Allister Sparks said: “The essential   qualities – her imperiousness, her wilfulness, the combative and survivalist   spirit – that helped her get through the hard years also brought about her   downfall.” What had been admirable defiance of the apartheid regime in the   Sixties and Seventies turned into a complete disregard for law and order as   she unleashed her gang of street thugs – known as the Mandela United   Football Club – on the people of Soweto in the Eighties.

This trajectory from political widow and defiant anti-apartheid activist to   gangland leader appeared part-Shakespearean drama and part-political soap   opera. In the early days, Winnie’s rebellion against the arrests, banning   orders and daily police harassment visited on her by the South African   government kept the Mandela name in the international press at a time when   her husband had been effectively silenced on Robben Island. The South   African government’s response was to try to remove her from the public   spotlight, and in 1977 she was banished to a fly‑blown Afrikaans town called   Brandfort.

In fact, her exile in Brandfort had the opposite effect. Beautiful and   banished, she attracted the attention of the world’s press and a procession   of international celebrities, from Ted Kennedy to  Dickie Attenborough. They   came to pay their respects to Mama Wethu, the Mother of the Nation, but such   pilgrimages were invariably accompanied by a host of journalists.

It was also in Brandfort, according to her young lover at the time, MK   Malefane, that she began drinking heavily; and with that came wild, erratic   behaviour that was hidden from public view and ignored by those around her.   Malefane described one occasion when he turned the garden hose on her to   help sober her up before Ted Kennedy and his entourage arrived.

Contact with Nelson was infrequent – she was allowed one or two visits a year   to Robben Island, and not many more when he was moved to Pollsmoor on the   mainland – but the letters flowed; and it was in these epistles that Nelson   displayed the compassion that marked his character throughout his life. He   expressed all the usual concern that a husband and father would for his wife   and children, and blamed himself for his enforced and prolonged absence. He   was also gracious in letters to the lover Malefane and thanked him for   holding the Mandela family together in times of great stress. In one letter   to Malefane, Nelson acknowledged that Winnie’s erratic behaviour was a   serious problem and urged him to stay on in Brandfort to continue his vital,   if unorthodox, role in the family.

By the mid-Eighties the South African government was beginning to make   overtures to Mandela, and he was able to ask the then justice minister to   allow Winnie to return from exile. It turned out to be a fateful request,   for the erratic and sometimes violent behaviour she had displayed in   Brandfort was now to reveal itself in more criminal form in late Eighties   Soweto. This was a time of great social upheaval, and, in the gathering   gloom of an increasingly lawless black township, Winnie assembled her army   of hoodlums and delinquents to terrorise the very people she was claiming to   represent .

At the height of the Mandela United excesses the government was preparing the   path for a lifting of the ANC ban and the release of political prisoners.   Winnie’s unchecked public statements – “we will liberate this country” with    “our boxes of matches and our necklaces” was the most flagrant – were   counterproductive. Both sides were aware of Winnie’s activities with her   gang of thugs and both were aware of the political implications. Thus, the   government hesitated to prosecute her, while Mandela engaged in a flurry of   messages from his prison cell to the ANC leader-in-exile, Oliver Tambo, who   was in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

In his evidence to the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission a   senior police officer said that although the police at the end of the   apartheid era had compiled a list of 30 crimes they believed Winnie had   committed – from high treason to murder – the attorney general had refused   to prosecute her because she was regarded as “untouchable”.

One family friend told me that just before his release in 1990, Nelson   summoned Winnie and his youngest daughter, Zindzi, to his rooms in Victor   Verster prison. He sat them down and said he knew about every lover, every   beating, every abduction, every crime Winnie had committed, and that he   wanted to put it behind them because they had a momentous task facing them.   Zindzi was so moved that she burst into tears. Winnie denied everything.

Matters did not improve after Mandela’s release. The image we remember is of   the apparently heroic couple making that walk to freedom, hand-in-hand,   fists raised in unison. But even in those first few days of freedom Winnie   was flaunting her lover of the time, a young lawyer by the name of Dali   Mpofu. Mandela told his associates that while he had not expected Winnie to   be celibate while he was in prison, he did expect her to be discreet.

Even as their marriage was heading for the rocks, Mandela publicly supported   his errant wife. When she was tried in 1991 for assault and abduction, he   arranged for his old friend George Bizos to lead the defence team, attending   the trial regularly, following proceedings carefully and emerging at   lunchtime at Winnie’s side, publicly defending his wife. What the public did   not know was that Mandela refused to attend the consultations between lawyer   and client because Winnie insisted on having Dali Mpofu with her. Mandela   was later to admit that this was the loneliest period of his life.

The Mandelas were formally divorced in 1996 after 38 years of marriage. Winnie   took the name Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson found happiness in his later   years with Graça Machel, the regal and gracious widow of Mozambique’s former   president, Samora Machel.

As for Winnie, she is still out there raising her fist in the political   margins, to the eternal applause of the dispossessed masses. She may feel   that her day is yet to come. But as the curtain falls on Nelson’s life,   there is no doubt which Mandela will be remembered with unalloyed admiration.


Graham Boynton is the author of ‘Last Days in Cloud Cuckoo Land’, a history   of the end of white rule in colonial Africa.