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Winnie Mandela Essay

Part 1:

After viewing the life of Winnie Mandela I have noticed five themes of multiculturalism. The first theme I noticed was identity. Winnie had a very strict upbringing by a father who was disappointed she was not born a boy. She tried to prove to him her entire child hood that she was worthy and capable of making him proud. She became one of the best stick fighters around, despite the fact that she was female in order to gain acceptance of him. The second was culture, she gave up the chance to study in America in order to remain in South Africa where she felt more needed. She wanted to stick by her husband through his imprisonment in order to keep fighting for the freedom of their culture. Winnie raised two children while her husband was imprisoned and still lead the country through motivational speeches and helping to aid the sick. Third was diversity, she faced continuous harassment by the security police, banishment to a small free town, betrayal by friends and allies, and more than a year in solitary confinement. Although times were hard Winnie tried to keep her sanity while in solitary by feeding and talking to ants as if they were people. When alone in solitary she exemplified the only way of diversity she knew how to by sharing pieces of bread with the ants. Fourth, after her release, she continues her husband’s activism and after his release from prison, suffers divorce due to her infidelity and political pressures.

Madela questioned her about sleeping with another man and Winnie was appaled by his questioning. After being a steady wife for over 20 years of imprisonment she was in disbelief. Finally, she faced accusations of violence and murder and in the end, must own up to her actions in court, while many still remain loyal to her because of her fight against apartheid. Mandela remarried but Winnie never did. It is my belief that Winnie is suffering from deep depression. Towards the end of the film Winnie was drinking heavily, crying a lot, and seemed to feel worthless. She was being blamed for murder and most of her followers had turned against her because she was being accused of murder, which is something they did not condone. She was showing signs of irritability, angry outburst, and anxiety. In order to alleviate Winnie’s problems I would first establish a trusting relationship between us so that she would feel comfortable with me. Next, I would ask her about her childhood up until present day to figure out what type of cultural background she has. Then I would have her list all of the things positive and negative in her life to help her see that there is still a reason for happiness. Next, I would give her suggestions to help her overcome depression herself step by step in order for her to see that the stage she is in is only temporary.

Part 2:

The name of the client I would like to provide treatment for is Winnie Mandela. Winnie Madikizela was born on September 26, 1936, in Bizana, a rural village in the Transkei district of South Africa. Winnie moved to Johannesburg in 1953 to study at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work. South Africa was under the system known as apartheid, where citizens of African descent were subjected to a system in which European descendants enjoyed much higher levels of wealth, health and social freedom. Winnie completed her studies and, though receiving a scholarship to study in America, decided instead to work as the first black medical social worker at Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg. She learned her field work of the deplorable state that many of her patients lived in. In the mid 1950s, Winnie met attorney Nelson Mandela, who, at the time, was leader of the African National Congress, an organization with the goal of ending South Africa’s apartheid system of racial segregation. The two married in June 1958, despite concerns from Winnie’s father over the couple’s age difference and Mandela’s political involvements. After the wedding, Winnie moved into Mandela’s home in Soweto.

Arrested for his activities and targeted by the government during his early days of marriage. He was eventually sentenced in 1964 to life imprisonment, leaving Winnie Mandela to raise their two small daughters. Monitored by the government, Winnie Mandela was arrested under the Suppression of Terrorism Act and spent more than a year in solitary confinement, where she was tortured. Upon her release, she continued her activism and was jailed several more times. Then hundreds of students were killed, she was forced by the government to relocate and placed under house arrest. She continued to speak out on black South African economic might and its ability to overturn the system. Winnie was accused of promoting deadly violence when a young boy from her group was murdered by the team she had to protect her. Later, after her husband was released from prison he divorced her and remarried. Winnie never remarried but was later elected president of the women’s league. Winnie was dealing with high levels or stress throughout her life. Trying to gain acceptance from her father at a young age, police raiding her house, her husband being imprisoned for twenty-seven years, raising two children on her own, being moitored by the government, solitary for over a year, continuing activism, and being accused of murder.

In order for her to alleviated some of the stress I recommend that she identifies the true sources of stress, look closely at her habits, attitude, and excuses by making a stress journal. A stress journal can identify the regular stressors in life and the way you deal with them. Each time she feels stressed, I would like for her to keep track of it in the journal. As she keeps a daily log, she will begin to see patterns and common themes. I would like for her to write down: What caused the stress, how she felt, both physically and emotionally, how she acted in response, and what she did to make herself feel better. Then, I would give tips about the four A’s of how to avoid the stressor, adapt to the stressor, accept the stressor, and moving forward after the stressor. Healthy ways to recharge from stress would be to go for a walk, call a good friend, spend time with nature, take a long bath, listen to music, or getting a massage.


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