Fire Destroys Mandela Home; Youths Blamed

Times Wire Services

Fire today gutted the home of Winnie Mandela and jailed black guerrilla leader Nelson Mandela, and neighbors and police said it was set by a group of black students feuding with young Mandela supporters.

Winnie Mandela appeared in a state of shock as she drove up to the charred shell of her brick bungalow in the black township of Soweto as firemen salvaged some of the family belongings. She remained in her vehicle and drove to her nearby office without making any statements.

Police headquarters in Pretoria said teen-agers from Soweto's Daliwonga High School attacked the home and set it ablaze.

Black neighbors gave a similar account, telling one news service that the attack was the latest outbreak of a dispute between the students and the Mandela football team. Team members, dressed in yellow and green track suits, frequently escort Winnie Mandela, sometimes appearing to act as her bodyguards.

Disputes between the Mandela football team and the students have erupted before. On one occasion students stoned the house.

Accounts Given

Several witnesses, who requested anonymity, said the youngsters stoned the bungalow, battered down a garden gate and poured gasoline through the four rooms and set it alight.

Witnesses said the house appeared to explode into flames and the intense heat beat back neighbors attempting to rescue Mandela's furniture. Among them was Trevor Tutu, son of Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whose home is on the same street.

One witness, television cameraman Tony Wasserman, said Tutu leaped over a garden wall, peered into the inferno and shouted back to onlookers that nobody was in the house.

Police Capt. Ruben Bloomberg said in Pretoria that no arrests have been made.

Mandela, a social worker and anti-apartheid activist, shared the modest home with her daughter Zindzi, 27, and two grandchildren.

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