Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch: Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage

08 June 2023, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

winnie nelson book cover

Join Jonny Steinberg for the launch of his book Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage. He will be in discussion with Dr. Hélène Neveu Kringelbach and Professor Tamar Garb.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground, G11
Ground floor, Wilkins building
UCL, Gower Street, London
United Kingdom

One of the most celebrated political leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela has been written about by many biographers and historians. But in one crucial area, his life remains largely untold: his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. During his years in prison, Nelson grew ever more in love with an idealised version of his wife, courting her in his letters as if they were young lovers frozen in time. But Winnie, every bit his political equal, found herself increasingly estranged from her jailed husband’s politics. Behind his back, she was trying to orchestrate an armed seizure of power, a path he feared would lead to an endless war. Jonny Steinberg tells the tale of this unique marriage – its longings, its obsessions, its deceits – in a page-turning political biography. Winnie and Nelson is a modern epic in which trauma doesn’t affect just the couple at its centre, but an entire nation. In the end, both knew theirs was not simply a marriage, but a struggle to define anti-apartheid futures as such. 

About the Speakers

Jonny Steinberg

Jonny Steinberg is the author of several books about everyday life in the wake of South Africa’s transition to democracy. He is a two-time winner of the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, and an inaugural winner of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes. Until 2020, he was professor of African studies at Oxford University. He currently teaches part-time at the Council on African Studies at Yale University's MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and is visiting professor at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in Johannesburg. 

Tamar Garb

Tamar Garb is Durning Lawrence Professor in History of Art at UCL. Prof. Garb’s research interests have focused on questions of gender and sexuality, the woman artist and the body in nineteenth and early twentieth century French art. Key publications include Sisters of the Brush: Women’s Artistic Culture in Late Nineteenth Century Paris (Yale University Press, 1994); Bodies of Modernity: Figure and Flesh in Fin de Siecle France, (Thames & Hudson, 1998) and The Painted Face, Portraits of Women in France 1814 -1914 (Yale University Press, 2007). Her interests have also turned to post-apartheid culture and art as well as the history of photographic practices in Africa. Her curatorial projects include: Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography (V&A London) 2011, Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive (Walther Collection, New York, Ulm) 2014, William Kentridge and Vivienne Koorland: Conversations in Letters and Lines, (Fruitmarket Edinburgh), 2018 and Beyond the Binary: Santu Mofokeng and David Goldblatt (Walther Collection, Ulm) 2023.

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach is Associate Professor of African Anthropology at UCL. Her doctoral research focused on dance, social mobility, morality and notions of self in Dakar, Senegal. Her monograph Dance Circles: Movement, Morality and Self-Fashioning in Urban Senegal (Berghahn Books, 2013) was awarded the Amaury Talbot Prize in African Anthropology by the Royal Anthropological Institute. Since 2011 she has carried out research on ‘mixed’ marriage and transnational family relationships between Senegal and Europe. This work focuses on experiences of racial, cultural and religious difference within families, and on how the management of marriage migration by states shapes these relationships.