Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Stella McCartney is buying back her brand, Bill Cosby’s retrial is underway, and South Africa’s “mother of the nation” is dead at 81. Have an inspiring Tuesday.
• Mother of the nation. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away yesterday at age 81, following a long illness. She was perhaps known best as the second wife of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, but was a history-making activist in her own right—a fact that she often reminded others of. According to The New York Times, “Ms. Madikizela-Mandela resented the notion that her anti-apartheid credentials had been eclipsed by her husband’s global stature and celebrity…She insisted that her contribution had been wrongly depicted as a pale shadow of his.”
After her husband was jailed—he ended up serving nearly three decades—she was called “mother of the nation” and became a symbol of the country’s struggle against the segregation system. She herself was imprisoned for 17 months, most of them in solitary confinement, an experience that she later said changed her profoundly. After getting out of prison, her home became a gathering place for diplomats, fellow activists, and international journalists. Like the U.S.’s Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks, she balked at restrictions placed on black South Africans, using white-only public phones and ignoring segregated shopping counters. But those were just some of her tactics.
Madikizela-Mandela is a complicated heroine, having been accused of resorting to violence in her fight against apartheid. She was a proponent of “necklacing,” an act of execution by placing “a gas-soaked tire around a supposed traitor’s neck.” In 1991, she was convicted of ordering the kidnapping and beating of four young men, for which she was sentenced to six years in prison (she ended up only serving one). Her life took a turn: The following year, she was kicked out of the United Democratic Front, an umbrella group of organizations fighting apartheid. A few years later, Nelson Mandela (after getting out of jail and becoming president) divorced her on the grounds of infidelity. They were married for 38 years.
It’s impossible to summarize anyone’s life, but I believe this quote, from Madikizela-Mandela herself, goes a long way in explaining the circumstances in which she lived—as well as her own vision of herself: “I am not Mandela’s product. I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy.”
New York Times
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Here we go again. Comedian Bill Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges began yesterday in the suburban Philadelphia town of Norristown, Pa. This WaPo story breaks down everything you need to know—including the infuriating reason the comedian, who has been publicly accused by at least 60 women “of rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment,” has yet to be convicted of a crime.
• Richards reveals. In this excerpt of her new book, Make Trouble, former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards writes about how abortion coverage and free birth control became part of Obamacare. Hint: “nearly every knock-down, drag-out fight had to do with women’s health.”
• A Stella decision. British designer Stella McCartney announced last week that she is buying back Kering’s 50% share of her brand. “It is the right moment to acquire the full control of the company bearing my name, she said about the decision. “I look forward to the next chapter of my life and what this brand and our team can achieve in the future.”
• A world without Wintour? Page Six has a shocking report that Anna Wintour could be on her way out of Condé Nast and Vogue as artistic director, potentially stepping down this summer after her daughter’s wedding and the closing of the iconic September issue. The column is also naming Vogue UK’s editor, Edward Enninful, as her likely replacement as the editor of U.S. Vogue. Still, don’t panic yet: a Condé spokesperson says, “We emphatically deny these rumors.”
New York Post
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The end of Esty’s campaign. Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D) announced yesterday that she will not seek reelection after it emerged that it took her three months to dismiss her chief of staff, Tony Baker, after she found out that he had repeatedly harassed, punched, and threatened a subordinate. This makes her the ninth member of Congress to see his or her career felled by workplace harassment allegations (the other eight were men and themselves the targets of complaints).
• To take or not to take? This NYT piece explores an interesting question: What happens when the benefactors you need to survive as an organization—particularly a philanthropic one—is accused of sexual misconduct?
New York Times
• #PayMeToo. Yesterday, a group of British politicians—led by Labour MP Stella Creasy—teamed up to kick-start online campaign #PayMeToo in a bid to advise women on how to tackle the gender pay gap at work. The campaign has an accompanying website which offers support to women in the workplace; the tips are helpful whether or not you live in the U.K.