Stompie Seipei (1974–1988) was a teenage ANC activist who was kidnapped and murdered on 29 December 1988 by members of Winnie Mandela’s bodyguards, known as the Mandela United football club.
Stompie had been actively involved in the ANC for several years, despite his young age. He became South Africa’s youngest political detainee when he spent his 12th birthday in jail without trial. Members of the Mandela United football club were convicted of abducting Seipei and three other young men, and beating and torturing them. Seipei was badly beaten, and had his throat slit. Jerry Richardson, one of Winnie Mandela's bodyguards, was convicted of the murder. He claimed that she had ordered him to abduct the four young men and bring them to her home. 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 two-year suspended sentence on appeal. Appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997, Winnie denied allegations that she was involved in at least 18 human rights abuses, including eight murders.
The "Mandela United football club” was allegedly responsible for a great deal of violence and intimidation in Soweto during the late 1980s. The club reportedly set up a "kangaroo court" at the back of Winnie Mandela’s home where “opponents of the struggle” were judged and punished. Club members did not in fact play football, but were accused of a series of murders, rapes and abductions between 1987 and 1989. Winnie Mandela claimed ignorance about the club's activities, although it operated from her home and several people testified at the TRC hearings that she was party to the violence.
'Winnie the Opera’ - an exploration of the highs and lows of Ms Mandela's life - premiered at the South African State Theatre, Pretoria, in April 2011.