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Shackled Mystery Man Brought to Mandela Home

January 26, 1987|Associated Press

SOWETO, South Africa — Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Mandela today said police brought a mysterious man in leg irons into her home while they searched the house. Police then briefly detained her and her daughter, Zinzi.

Mandela, wife of imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, and her daughter were released Sunday night after being held for several hours.

At a news conference, the 52-year-old Mandela offered no explanation for the shackled man ushered into her home Sunday in this black township outside Johannesburg.

She said she did not know the man, that he did not speak to her and that police asked her no questions about him. She said the man was inside the house while police searched it but "he just stood there and stared at me and Zinzi."

Mandela and her daughter were taken to a police station near Soweto after the house was searched. She said her file cabinet, containing personal letters from her husband, was taken but later returned, its contents intact.

No police spokesmen were available this evening to comment on the case despite eight calls to headquarters and other stations.

Mandela said she had no idea why police held her for several hours as they looked at each of her documents, "including letters from (Nelson) Mandela that have already been through their censors."

She said several youths who have formed a soccer team and often play in front of her house also were taken by police, and eight of them have since been freed. "They said the questions to them were about the soccer team," she said.

Mandela suggested her questioning may have been part of a "propaganda campaign" to coincide with Wednesday's meeting in Washington between U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Oliver Tambo, president of the African National Congress.

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