Farewell, Mama Winnie
HUNDREDS of thousands of people will gather at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday (14 April 2018) to pay their last respects to Mam’ Winnie Madikizela Mandela. The world paid tributes to this gigantic tree that has now fallen.
All did not do so solely because she was married to an icon and former president Nelson Mandela, but because she had struggle credentials that stand on their own. In fact, ANC Veterans League president Snuki Zikalala put it profoundly: “She was a leader in her own right. She was not in the struggle because she was married to Nelson Mandela, but was a committed and dedicated member of the ANC.”
In describing her commitment to the liberation of this country, it will be befitting to reiterate the statement of President Cyril Ramaphosa as it summarises her life: “Even at the darkest moments of our struggle for liberation, Mam’Winnie was an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free.
“In the midst of repression, she was a voice of defiance and resistance. In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality. Throughout her life she made an everlasting contribution to the struggle through sacrifice and her unyielding determination. Her dedication to the plight of her people gained her the love and the respect of the nation.
“For many years, she bore the brunt of the senseless brutality of the apartheid state with stoicism and fortitude. Despite the hardships she faced, she never doubted that the struggle for freedom and democracy would succeed.
“She remained throughout her life a tireless advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalised. She was a voice for the voiceless. Let us reflect on her rich, remarkable and meaningful life. Let us draw inspiration from the struggles that she fought and the dream of a better society to which she dedicated her life.
“Today we have lost a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a comrade, a leader and an icon.”
Some people, more especially the apartheid regime, tried to kill her character and spirit. The most known conspiracy against her, which some today are still repeating, was to link her with the tragic death of young activist Stompie Seipei.
They do so deliberately but knowing in their hearts that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) did not find a shred of evidence linking her to the murder. Even former police commissioner, George Fivaz, who oversaw the investigation into Stompie’s killing, came out after Mam’Winnie’s passing away to dispel the repeated rumours.
The people behind the spread of the rumours did not provide a motive, but we can only speculate: To kill the momentum of African children to gain their total emancipation.
Luckily, the African children have seen through these people and have refused to indulge in the rumours.
African Union chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat flew from Addis Ababa to pay respect to Mam’ Winnie: “The entire African Union family joins the continent in grief. She was a fearless campaigner who sacrificed much of her life for freedom in South Africa.”
Lala ngoxolo Mam’Winnie.