The life story of Winnie Mandela remains one of the great dramas of
our times, an ongoing tale of triumphs and tragedies that is still
unfolding. In the Cry of Winnie Mandela, a highly acclaimed novel
first released in 2003, Njabulo S. Ndebele focuses on four women at
a specific period in the history of southern Africa who have spent
time waiting for their men to return. Their ordinary, `private'
stories are anchored to the more powerful public stories of
Penelope, of ancient Greek mythology, who waited eighteen years
while her husband Odysseus was away, and Winnie Mandela, who waited
for twenty-seven years. The women question themselves and each
other about why they waited and what this waiting did to them,
leading to a series of extraordinary and haunting `conversations'
with one another as well as with Penelope and Winnie.
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