Stompie's Story refers to the events in the abduction, beating and killing of Stompie Seipei, a boy of 14, and the involvement therein by Ms. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (the former wife of Nelson Mandela).


  41" x 33"  Mixed Media                           (1999)


In 1986, after returning to Soweto from banishment by the SA government, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela provided refuge and assistance to disaffected youth. The Mandela United Football Club (MUFC) was formed and its members moved into outbuildings of the Mandela residence; they served as body guards to Ms. Madikizela-Mandela. Allegations of violence by the MUFC surfaced in 1987 and community residents described these actions as a 'reign of terror'. Between Aug.1988 and Feb.1989 the MUFC and Ms. Madikizela-Mandela were implicated, directly or indirectly, in a range of incidents including assaults, abduction, murder and attempted murder of 12 individuals. Ostensibly these attacks were against suspected informers who were betraying the cause of the War of Liberation.


The crisis peaked when on Dec. 29, 1989 four youth, Stompie Seipei, Pelo Mekgwe, Kenneth Kgase and Thabiso Mono were abducted from a Methodist Church Youth Shelter by the MUFC and taken to Ms. Madikizela-Mandela's residence in Soweto where they were accused of engaging in sexual relations with Rev. Paul Verryn, who ran the shelter. Stompie Seipei was singled out and accused of being a police informer; all were severely beaten and locked up. "In early January, Seipei's decomposing body was found in a river-bed on the outskirts of Soweto. His body and head were riddled with injuries and he had been stabbed in the neck three times." as stated in the TRC Final Report.


According to the TRC report:


"The allegations against Ms. Madikizela-Mandela and the football club have been extremely controversial. The activities ... resulted in the prosecution and conviction of Madikizela-Mandela and three associates, as well as the conviction for murder of Mr. Jerry Richardson, the coach of the MUFC. Madikizela-Mandela was found guilty in 1991 of kidnapping and of being an accessory to assault. The latter conviction was subsequently overturned, but a full bench of the Appellate Division upheld the kidnapping conviction in 1993".


The TRC held its own hearings into the activities of Ms. Madikizela-Mandela. In the nine-day hearing, forty three witnesses gave evidence. Four versions of Stompie's killing emerged:


bulletJerry Richardson, who was convicted for the murder and applied for amnesty, claimed that he killed Seipei on instructions from Madikizela-Mandela.
bulletKatiza Cebekhulu claimed he witnessed Madikizela-Mandela stabbing Stompie, a version supported by John Morgan, Winnie's personal chauffeur, who testified he was instructed to dump Stompie's body. Cebekhulu was a co-accused with Ms. Madikizela-Mandela at her trial for kidnapping and assault. He disappeared shortly before the trial and re-emerged in a Zambian prison, where he was detained without trial for almost three years.
bulletAn unsigned, typed section 29 statement by Mr. Johannes Mabotha, former member of SA Security Branch and a known informer, states he was present when Jerry Richardson informed Madikizela-Mandela that he had killed Stompie.
bulletA fourth version, suggested by Security Branch policeman, Paul Erasmus, is that Richardson killed Seipei because he had found out that Richardson was an informer. The TRC Report states:


"The various versions, with the exception of that of Erasmus, all implicate Ms. Madikizela-Mandela, either directly or indirectly, in Seipei's murder or its attempted cover-up. The Commission has not been able to establish conclusively the veracity of any of these versions, including Erasmus's." "...Ms. Madikizela-Mandela's testimony before the Commission was characterized by a blanket denial of all allegations against her..." "It was only ... under great pressure from Archbishop Desmond Tutu ... that she reluctantly conceded that 'things had gone horribly wrong'".

The four figures in Stompie's Story refer to Winnie Madikizela- Mandela hugging Joyce Seipei, mother of the victim, after the TRC hearings; Katiza Cebekhulu and Stompie Seipei. Text includes selected testimony from the trial, and the notations on the clay shards refer to those involved in and/or related to this event. Blank shards refer to who and what remains unknown about this tragic affair.