Winnie Mandela’s ‘Football Club,’ A Blot On Her Legacy

Winnie Mandela
FILE COPY Willie Mandela Photo Credit: AFP

 

“Winnie Mandela was there. She is the one who started beating all of us. The rest followed, for at least one hour, if not two,” said Thabiso Mono.

He is still haunted by that night in December 1988 when he was kidnapped with three other anti-apartheid activists in an incident that has been at the centre of a debate about Winnie Mandela’s legacy since her death earlier this month.

“I was surprised, I could not understand what was happening,” Thabiso told AFP, strain audible in his voice.

“We thought that when we were around her we were very secure.”

Winnie Mandela died on April 2 at the age of 81 and is remembered by many South Africans for her courageous role in the fight against white rule and her 38-year marriage to Nelson Mandela.

But in the late 1980s her bodyguards, dubbed Mandela United Football Club (MUFC) and easily identifiable by their yellow tracksuits, inflicted a reign of terror on the Soweto township near Johannesburg.

MUFC had nothing to do with soccer. The gang was implicated in kidnappings, torture and murder in circumstances which remain mired in confusion.

Before he was brutalised, Thabiso — then 19 — was kidnapped in Soweto by the “club” along with three acquaintances — Stompie Seipei, whose murder became emblematic of the MUFC’s violence, Pelo Mekgwe and Kenny Kgase.

“We went to Winnie’s house in Diepkloof,” a district of Soweto, said Pelo who is now an army sergeant.

“The beatings happened in her property, in a back room.”

‘I am not angry anymore’

The youths were repeatedly struck with fists, bottles, sticks and whips.

“We had bruises all over the body,” said Thabiso, now 48.

Just days later the body of 14-year-old Stompie was found on a riverbank near Soweto. The other three were released after their ordeal.

The group was targeted because Stompie was suspected of being an informant for the apartheid security services.

The others were accused of having sexual relations with a white priest who lived in Soweto, Thabiso and Pelo recalled.

A portrait of Stompie, along with an image of Nelson Mandela, greets visitors to the impoverished township where he was born in the central province of Free State.

His tombstone is overgrown with wild grass and withered thistles.

Nearby in the modest, tin-roofed family home, Stompie’s mother has given several media interviews following Winnie Mandela’s death.

“I am not angry anymore. The past is the past. I want to let it go,” Mananki Seipei told AFP in her kitchen.

Her fridge door is adorned with a black and white image of her son who she describes as her “hero”.

She recalled her late 1990s meeting with Winnie Mandela on the sidelines of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which was tasked with examining and exposing the political crimes and abuses of the apartheid era.

“Winnie asked for forgiveness and we made peace,” said Mananki.

In court, Winnie Mandela was sentenced on appeal to a suspended two-year prison term and a fine for her role in the kidnapping and violent treatment of Stompie and his three friends.

Jerry Richardson, a prominent member of MUFC, was sentenced to life in prison for Stompie’s murder.

 ‘A shadow that has followed her’ 

“One has to say that something went wrong — horribly, badly wrong,” said one of her most prominent supporters archbishop Desmond Tutu at the TRC which he chaired.

The lingering pain is still felt by all three, who must weigh up Winnie’s mixed legacy and the role she played in their lives.

Both Mananki Seipei and Pelo Mekgwe will attend Winnie’s state funeral this Saturday in Soweto.

Thabiso is not planning to go but said: “I think that we must all remember her for the sacrifices she made. She might have made mistakes like anybody could do.”

Pelo still wonders what motivated the sadistic violence of some members of MUFC.

“Some of them were… working for the security police,” he speculated, a widely-held view among those who believe the apartheid regime would have stopped at nothing to discredit Winnie Mandela.

Former security branch policeman Paul Erasmus, who was involved in efforts to subvert anti-apartheid groups, claimed this week that the “entire soccer club was security branch, informers”.

Whatever the loyalties of MUFC, their brutality “is a shadow that has followed (Winnie) for the last 30 years”, said Paul Verryn, the priest who was sheltering Stompie and his friends before they were abducted.

She was “just as bright as the sun” but also “dark (as) the night”, added Verryn.

“(But) the real culprit was the violent repression we were living under where the boundaries and the filters that would be in a normal society had disappeared.”

AFP

Andreas Pereira Signs New Man-United Contract

Andreas Pereira
                                                       Pic credit: manutd.com

Andreas Pereira has signed a new contract at Manchester United which keeps him at the club until at least June 2018, with an option to extend for another year.

The young midfielder (19) joined the Academy system in 2011 from where he progressed to the first-team squad at the start of this season.

Pereira made his debut in August 2014 in the League Cup against MK Dons.

The Manchester United Boss, Louis van Gaal said: “I am delighted that Andreas has signed a new contract. Andreas has all the attributes to become an integral part of the first team; great natural talent coupled with a good appetite to learn.

“I am pleased with his progression so far this season and look forward to working with him to develop his talent even further,” the manager said.

Andreas Pereira said: “I am pleased to have signed my new contract. I would like to thank the manager for giving me the opportunity to join the first-team squad. I made my Premier League debut against Tottenham Hotspur and to play at Old Trafford in front of so many fans was a dream come true.”

The young midfielder also added, “I am at the right club to continue my development as a player and to learn as much as I can. I want to thank my family and God for the opportunity he has given me.”

Biggest Brand: Bayern Munich Topples Manchester United

It’s no longer news that German club side; Bayern Munich won the Champions League title and the Bundesliga and take away the German Cup to make it a treble win for this season, but it what’s news is that the German side has knocked off English side; Manchester United from its position as the world’s most valuable brand.

In the new rankings done by BrandFinance Football 50, Bayern Munich leapfrogged after a nine per cent rise in value from 2012, moving from second to first after the double success and hopefully would clinch the German Cup.

European Cup finalists Borussia Dortmund also rose one place to 10th, with the Bundesliga’s soaring reputation clear – Schalke are 11th with Hamburg in 15th.

But the division as a whole is only worth two thirds of the Premier League – $1.9billion compared to $3.1bn.

English clubs dominate the list, with several appearing in the top 10; as well as United in second, Chelsea are fifth, Arsenal sixth, Liverpool seventh and Man City eighth.

One of the key factors in United’s drop of two per cent value was their early Champions League exit – turfed out by Madrid at the last-16 stage.

Barcelona, thrashed an embarrassing 7-0 on aggregate by Bayern, are ranked fourth in the list – where they were last time – but their brand value actually depreciated by 1 per cent.

Tottenham came in 12th, but after that a host of sides from Germany and Italy crop up before we reach our next English entry, in 29th, West Ham.

Newcastle follow in 30th – a 10-place drop from last term – with Aston Villa, Everton and Fulham close behind.

Astonishingly, Stoke City come an impressive 41st in the world.

Adidas and Nike dominate the kits of the top 15, the former providing 18 deals with the latter on 14. But emerging brands Warrior and Under Armour pose threats to these manufacturers in the future.

Below is the list of the first 10 clubs.

RankClubBrand value ($)% changeBrand rating
1Bayern Munich860m9AAA
2Man United837m-2AAA+
3Real Madrid621m4AAA+
4Barcelona572m-1AAA
5Chelsea418m5AA
6Arsenal410m6AA+
7Liverpool361m-2AA
8Man City332m10AA-
9AC Milan263m-10AAA-
10Borussia Dortmund260m15AA

Juventus D.G. says club is not interested in Drogba

Giuseppe Marotta the Director General of Italian giants Juventus has declared that the club does not have any interest whatsoever in signing former Chelsea forward now plying his trade for Shanghai Shenhua Didier Drogba.

Juventus we hear is said to be monitoring Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo and Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente.

Didier Drogba we hear is not happy in his new club and because of this the Ivory Coast international has been linked to Turin to probably join Juventus so as to strengthen the squad with some firepower which the Ivorian is known for during his day at the London club.

This information prompted the reaction of the Juventus Director General saying the former Chelsea striker is not one of the candidates to strengthen the Serie A leaders’ attack in the January transfer window.

He said further that Juventus has never considered making a move for Drogba, that it is just a rumour and speculation.

Man. City has what it takes to win the UCL Title -Roberto Mancini

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini confirmed the readiness of his club to take claim the most coveted trophy within club football the UEFA Champions League very very soon.

Mancini said other clubs will have to manage the position of trailing behind Manchester City when the time comes for they have what it takes conquer other club sides saying he is convinced he now has the power at his disposal to cross the line first and become a Champions League winner.

Spending almost £300m on building a side to conquer the rest is no child’s play for the Italian coach and to assure progress with such an amount,it has landed him the FA Cup and Premier League title, but now it is the biggest club prize of all that is in Mancini’s sights – and he is set to go full throttle in a bid to land it for the first time in his managerial career.

The Blues will face the ultimate test of their credentials tonight when they face nine-time winners Real at the Bernabeu – even if Jose Mourinho’s men have been spluttering of late.

The Spanish giants have never lost an opening group game and can secure their 100th win in the competition by sinking the English champions.

But Mancini is convinced the Blues can put their foot down and prove they finally have what it takes to leave Real and the rest lagging behind.

Mancini said Manchester City has a good team and they have played together for a few years, ut he is very sure that they will win the trophy in the future for he does not know when it will happen but the club will win the Champions League.

The Blues have been drawn in the ‘group of death’ alongside Real, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, the respective champions of Spain, Holland and Germany.

City found themselves in a tough group last season that included eventual runners-up Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal.

Mancini’s men secured 10 points but it wasn’t enough to get them through, although he reckons the experience will stand them in good stead.

Mancini will be without the injured Micah Richards, but welcomes back record signing Sergio Aguero.

He added: “I think this group is stronger than last year, but it will be very difficult for all the teams.

Mancini, who landed three Serie A titles on the bounce with Inter Milan, insists he is not on a personal mission to become the king of Europe, even though the trophy has so far escaped him.

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger rejects chance to coach Brazil

62-year-old Arsenal manager and coach, Asene Wenger on Wednesday rejected the opportunity to coach the Brazilian national team.

According to La Parisien, Wenger was approached by the Brazilian Football Confederation, who have doubts over the current Seleção coach Mano Menezes.

The French newspaper claims that the 62-year-old turned down a two-year contract offer from the CBF, which would have seen him through to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The news comes just weeks after Wenger shutdown talk of taking charge of the French national team, who are now coached by Didier Deschamps.

Wenger has two years to run on his contract with Arsenal.