The death of Winnie Mandela came as a shock today. The BBC sums up her life: she was "an icon of the struggle", yet found herself "mired in controversy". Controversy or not, she was so much a part of all of us in South Africa. In the 1980s, I read her (then banned) book, Part of my Soul, which I felt added valuable perspective to the "party line" at the time -- and to the traumatic events that shaped her and some say damaged her. OBSERVATION: My wife E is related to Winnie Mandela. They are both descended of the great King Mpondo, who reigned about the 12th century AD.