Black People : Winnie Mandela denied entry to Canada for arts gala

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http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2007/06/05/winnie-mandela.html

Winnie Mandela denied entry to Canada for arts gala
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | 6:07 PM ET
CBC Arts

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South
African leader Nelson Mandela, has been denied entry
to Canada.

Madikizela-Mandela was scheduled to attend a
fundraising gala in Toronto on Tuesday for the arts
organization MusicaNoir.

The Canadian High Commission in South Africa has
refused to grant a visa for Madikizela-Mandela,
according to Carole Adriaans, a spokeswoman for
MusicaNoir, which promotes diversity in classical
music.

No reason was given, Adriaans said.

"She was devastated. We were devastated. We are
devastated," Adriaans told CBC Radio.

Madikizela-Mandela, 70, is controversial because of
the violence practised by her supporters in the
struggle against apartheid.

In 1991, she was convicted of kidnapping and assault
in connection with the death of a 14-year-old
activist.

Her life story is the subject of a new two-part opera
being staged in Toronto as part of the Luminato arts
festival.

The Passion of Winnie (Part One) was created by
composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen and filmmaker Warren
Wilensky. It was scheduled to be performed as part of
the Toronto gala, A Night in Soweto, that
Madikizela-Mandela had planned to attend.

Organizers say the fundraiser will go ahead as planned
with another special guest, LeVar Burton, an
African-American actor, director and author.

South African-born Wilensky said Canada's decision
underlines the reason he wrote the opera.

"[At] the end of the day, I want people to walk away
saying, 'I would not judge someone until I walked a
mile in their shoes,' and again, people are judging
her," he said. "The Canadian government's taken a
stand."

Criminal record may have kept Mandela out
Mandela's criminal conviction may have been enough to
keep her out of Canada.

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

Celebrities with criminal records can apply for a
minister's permit and still get into the country, as
was the case with Martha Stewart.

Madikizela-Mandela was in New York City just two weeks
ago to accept an award for her work with AIDS and the
Save Africa Concerts Foundation affiliated with the
United Nations.

Madikizela-Mandela had a public falling-out with her
husband, anti-apartheid fighter and former South
African president Nelson Mandela, after he formed a
new government in 1995. They divorced a year later.

She was scheduled to travel to Canada with Zindzi
Mandela, Nelson Mandela's daughter.
 
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