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Winnie’s belongings go on auction to pay debt

The sale will happen at the home of Nelson Mandela's ex-wife – a polarising figure who was beloved by many for her role in the anti-apartheid struggle but was also involved in legal troubles over the years, including a kidnapping conviction in the early 1990s.

Madikizela-Mandela collects a salary as a member of Parliament, and she is also a member of the national executive committee of the ANC.

She defaulted on a $2 150 (just under R20 000) payment to Abbotts College, according to South African media. A relative of Madikizela-Mandela had been studying at Abbotts.

A court ruled against Madikizela-Mandela in 2011. Alan Levy Attorneys, a law firm representing the school system, said the auction will be held on Tuesday at her home in Soweto. Items for sale also include tables and chairs, a roomful of books and sculptures.

Her lawyer declined to comment.

Madikizela-Mandela married Nelson Mandela in 1958 but then the couple was separated for 27 years while Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island. He and Madikizela-Mandela divorced in 1997, during his term as president.

Madikizela-Mandela was an anti-apartheid leader in her own right. However, her behaviour grew increasingly erratic in the 1980s as crackdowns against her and the ANC grew intense. She and her former bodyguard unit, known as the Mandela United Football Club, were accused of committing 18 killings and other crimes during this period.

She was convicted of charges including kidnapping in 1991. Initially sentenced to six years in jail, she was ordered to pay a fine on appeal.

In March, forensic experts exhumed two skeletons believed to belong to two young activists last seen at her home 24 years ago. No charges have been filed. – Sapa-AP

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