Ex-wife of Nelson Mandela denied entry into Canada

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The High Commission of Canada in South Africa is not granting ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a visa to enter Canada.

Her daughter, Zindzi Mandela, and two security guards were granted a visa.

There is no word as to why Canadian officials refused, but sources speculate that her conviction for being involved in the death of a 14-year-old activist, and other incidents, could be factors.

Madikizela-Mandela is a figure of debate because her supporters in the struggle against apartheid were violent. In 1991, she was convicted for kidnapping. In 2003, she was convicted of fraud.

Immigration lawyer, Guidy Mamann, told CBC Radio: "Generally, if you have a criminal record, you're not wanted in this country, either for permanent residence or to visit as a tourist."

Madikizela-Mandela, 73, was scheduled to speak at a fundraising gala and dinner in Toronto, on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET. It was named "A Night in Soweto", and was presented by arts organization MusicaNoir. According to CanadaNewsWire, African-American actor LeVar Burton flew from Los Angeles, California to Toronto to fill in for Madikizela-Mandela.

An opera named "The Passion of Winnie", about the life of Madikizela-Mandela, is to be presented at Toronto's Luminato Festival at 8:00 p.m ET on Friday. It is not known if Madikizela-Mandela will be granted a visa to attend the event.

Luminato's official website stated that it is "an event not to be missed", Madikizela-Mandela is a "fascinating and strong personality", and she demonstrates "rarely displayed true and charismatic leadership". Tickets for the event are CAN$200.


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