POLITICS
10/04/2018 11:52 SAST | Updated 10/04/2018 13:46 SAST

How Winnie Changed Joyce Seipei's Mind With A Hug

Their TRC meeting ended with a warm embrace, despite the fact that Joyce had called called Madikizela-Mandela a "murderer" during the hearings.

The 62-year-old mother of Stompie Seipei got candid at her home in Parys, Free State, about her first time meeting Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the bathroom at the highly publicised TRC hearings in Durban. At the high-profile hearing, the struggle icon was being investigated for the murder of 14-year-old anti-apartheid activist, Stompie.

It was at these same hearings in 1994 that Joyce remembers calling Winnie a murderer.

''I was screaming these words at Mam' Winnie and crying hysterically, because I believed she did it. That is what everybody and the international media were saying and telling me," she recalled while admitting that, to this day, she does not know what to believe.

During these proceedings she met Winnie by chance in the bathroom. Joyce, who had attended the hearings with Stompie's sister, was in the bathroom while the struggle veteran was outside speaking to her daughter.

"My daughter knows Mam' Winnie, so she greeted her and Winnie said, 'Good morning, my child.' She asked, 'Where is your mother?' My daughter said, 'She is here." Winnie then came with my child and said she resembled Stompie. So Winnie and I hugged. She then took my daughter and sat her on her lap," she said with a big smile on her face as she spoke fondly of the memory.

Joyce Seipei found that she has been at peace since this encounter with Mam' Winnie, which occurred coincidentally, and she has moved on from losing her son by learning to forgive the crimes of apartheid South Africa.

Stompie Seipei's mother wanted to let Madikizela-Mandela's family know that she is sorry for their loss. ''I am saying to Mam' Winnie's family, sorry. These things are painful. She was great, but people must reach their time. This loss also hurts me, what happened to Winnie also hurts me,'' she said.

Madikizela-Mandela has since been cleared of any involvement in the murder of Stompie, but the stain of the TRC on her legacy continues to fester.