A year on after Nelson Mandela’s passing, Winnie Mandela and Zindzi cover the December/January issue of ‘Forbes Woman Africa’, and it may just be the magazine’s most controversial cover to date. Winnie is a revolutionary and a controversial one at that no doubt. In this story, she recounts Madiba’s final moment, his last breath as well as discussing his legacy.

While many have agreed with the magazine’s decision to honour Winnie Mandela with a cover, there are also many who have shared their disgruntlement over the magazine’s decision to put Madiba’s ex-wife on the cover as opposed to his widow, Graca.


“But Winnie has been ‘without Mandela’ for quite a while now people….remember Dali Mpofu??? I agree Toteng..this is ignorant and disrespectful journallism. Disappointing for a publication like this,” one Facebook user commented on the Forbes Women Africa Facebook page.

Another Facebook user simply writes, “This is insulting to Graca.”

Others who respect Winnie for her role in creating awareness and campaigning for Mandela’s release, however, have supported the magazine’s choice in placing her and daughter Zindzi on the cover:

“Winnie Mandela was instrumental in campaigning for Mandela’s release hence Nelson Mandela became more famous than his other fellow prisoners. You also choose to forget the psychological trauma that she went through due to being held in solitary confinement for a year. It’s amazing how people will write the good that a person does on sand, and choose to write the wrong that she does on stone. I love Winnie Mandela, warts and all,” says a FB user. 

“Winnie shares a rich history with Mandela, has kids with him, has a legacy with him. How can you say this is insulting to Graca? Winnie will always be the Mandela matriach in the eyes of S.Frican’s. Zindzi is the biological daughter so why on earth should Forbes not use this as their headline? What’s insulting is Graca’s continued meddling in the affairs of the Mandela family when she’s not a Mandela,” adds another.

The response to Winnie supporters by those in favour of a Grace cover has also been fervent:

“The same Winnie is the one who took on one (known) toyboy while that same Mandela was behind bars and continued the affair after his release. He divorced her. He fell in love again with someone else. A woman he loved deeply and with whom he decided to enjoy his last days with. If you want to respect his legacy…respect his decision(s). Sheeeeeeesh!” one Facebook user commented.

The cover has so far been shared 105 times since it was posted on the Forbes Africa Facebook page and doubtless will continue to get more attention and cause more debate.

What do you say: should the magazine have put Winnie Mandela on the cover?

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