New Delhi, India - While urging Indian children to revere Mohandas K Gandhi, South African politician Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said on Friday that his non-violent methods would not have worked to end apartheid.

"Violence to violence was the only language the enemy understood," Madikizela-Mandela told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, in India's southern Kerala state.

The president of the African National Congress Women's League had been invited to open a children's cultural festival.

"We would have loved to follow the Mahatma's policy of peaceful transition," she said. "But the South African regime we fought was such that peaceful measures alone wouldn't have succeeded."

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission found Madikizela-Mandela accountable for human rights violations committed by her bodyguards, who were accused of killing and torturing suspected opponents.

Madikizela-Mandela, who was among the most prominent anti-apartheid activists, was convicted in 1991 of kidnapping and being an accessory to an assault on a 13-year-old boy and three young men. The boy was killed. She was sentenced to six years in jail, but paid a R20 000 fine on appeal.

Asked about the criminal case, Madikizela-Mandela told Indian reporters, "I am not aware of any allegation of criminal involvement being made against me". She claimed that a police informer had killed the boy, Stompie Seipei, in order to tarnish the image of the ANC.

Asked why she did not drop Mandela from her name after being divorced from former President Nelson Mandela in 1996, she said South Africa is a patriarchal society where "people will never allow me to drop my surname".

She said, "I have a good relationship with Mandela. But I am not Mandela's product. I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy". - Sapa-AP