Farewell, Mama Win­nie

African Times - - Leader -

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.

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