Mrs. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was denied an entry visa into Canada on the grounds that she was convicted of a felony in South Africa.
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Winnie denied entry to Canada
Wed, 06 Jun 2007
Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was denied entry in Canada this week because of her previous criminal records, Canadian newspapers reported on Wednesday.
The National Post said Madikizela-Mandela's visa application was rejected because of her criminal record, suggested a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Madikizela-Mandela (70), the ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela, was preparing to fly to Canada on Monday when she learned her visa application had been rejected by consular officials in Pretoria.
While saying the immigration department cannot comment on individual visa requests, spokesperson Marina Wilson said: "Persons can be deemed inadmissible to come to Canada for a number of reasons, including if they have been convicted of any serious crime."
Convicted for role in murder
In 1991 Madikizela-Mandela was sentenced to six-years in prison for her role in the kidnapping and murder of a 14-year-old boy suspected of being a police informer. Following an appeal, her punishment was reduced to a fine.
She also faced allegations of wrongdoing related to her time as the president of the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL).
In April 2003, she was found guilty on 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft, and her broker, Addy Moolman, was convicted on 58 counts of fraud and 25 of theft. The charges related to money taken from loan applicants' accounts for a funeral fund, but from which the applicants did not benefit. Madikizela-Mandela was sentenced to five-years in prison.
Shortly after the conviction, she resigned her parliamentary seat and the presidency of the ANC Women's League.
Another suspended sentence
In July 2004, an appeal judge of the Pretoria High Court ruled that "the crimes were not committed for personal gain". The judge overturned the conviction for theft, but upheld the one for fraud, handing her a three-years and six months suspended sentence.
Madikizela-Mandela was meant to be the guest of honour at a gala fund-raiser in Toronto for MusicaNoir, an organisation that promotes African music and arts.
She was scheduled to appear alongside LeVar Burton, the American actor best known for his work on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'.
The event also featured excerpts from 'The Passion of Winnie', a new opera based on her life.
The opera was written by filmmaker Warren Wilensky and composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen. The piece tracks her life from childhood through her career as a political activist.
She rose to prominence during her husband's 27-year imprisonment by the South African government.
She herself was banished to Brandfort, and not allowed to leave for many years. Following Mandela's release from prison in 1990 and subsequent election as the country's first black president, Madikizela-Mandela served as a minister in his government. The couple divorced in 1996.