Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s bodyguards arrested in connection with the death of Stompie Seipei

Winnie Mandela, left, arrives at a Johannesburg court in 1991 for her trial on kidnapping and assault charges related to a young activist's murder. She was convicted but her conviction was later overturned on appeal. TREVOR SAMSON AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Sunday, 19 February 1989

On this day in history, 4 of Winnie Mandela's (now Madikizela-Mandela) bodyguards, including Jerry Richardson and Jabu Sithole (coach of the Mandela United Football Club) were arrested at her home. The 4 were arrested in connection with the death of Stompie Mokhetsi Seipei, after rumors in mid-February that the Mandela United Football Club had brought the 4 youths to Winnie's home for interrogation.

Jerry Richardson was later convicted of Stompie Seipei's murder and sentenced to death. The three surviving youths testified at Mr. Richardson's trial that Winnie helped beat them, despite her assertion that she was absent. In 1991, Winnie Mandela was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault, but her six-year jail sentence was reduced to a fine and a 2 year suspended sentence on appeal.

Seipei's body, which according to the police had been stabbed through the neck and dumped at a waste site, was positively identified by his mother. At Seipei's funeral on 25 February 1989, at Tumahole Township in the Orange Free State, the Black community acknowledged his role in organising resistance among school students in 1985. As result of this, he had spent a year in detention at the age of 10, reportedly the country's youngest detainee.

• Cowell, A (1990). "Follower of Winnie Mandela Sentenced to Death".New York Times [online], 9 August. Available at:[Accessed on 12 February 2009]
• Keesing's Records of World Events. News Digest, 21 February 1995, p. 36452.

Last updated : 19-Sep-2016

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

Support South African History Online

Donate and Make African History Matter

South African History Online is a non profit organisation. We depend on public support to build our website into the most comprehensive educational resource and encyclopaedia on African history.

Your support will help us to build and maintain partnerships with educational institutions in order to strengthen teaching, research and free access to our content.