WSU tribute to Ma Winnie
Late struggle stalwart receives honorary doctorate from university
Late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela received an honorary social science doctorate from the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) on Thursday.
She was honoured at the Zamukulungisa campus.
Madikizela-Mandela’s emotional eldest daughter, Zenani Dlamini, accepted the doctorate on her mother’s behalf and thanked the university for making history and also for honouring Madikizela-Mandela while she was still alive. She reminded the students about Madikizela-Mandela’s history and said without her strong will and her unshakeable belief that one day her people would be free, she would not have been able to withstand it.
“My mother would want to emphasise to you today that the access that you have to higher education with all its many imperfections did not fall down from the heavens. “It was fought for at a great cost to so many of our people and their families. In actual fact it was the dream that one day the youth of SA would have access to equal education [that] drove my mother and her comrades to continue to fight the system of apartheid,” she said.
She called on the more than 1,000 graduates to grab opportunities in life with both hands. “If my mother could have spoken here today she would have said that despite all the hurdles that you have already jumped over, there are still more that lie ahead of you and they will keep on coming. Despite this you have opportunities that her generation did not have.
“Make the families even more proud and make my mother even more proud. My mother would have encouraged you to never stop doing your best. She would warn you that this next lap of your journey is not going to be easy,” she said.
“There are dreams to fulfil, achievements to be made and history books to be written like the history books that should be written about my mother and I hope that today there are writers here who will correct the history of the women in SA on her behalf.”
WSU vice-chancellor professor Rob Midgley praised Madikizela-Mandela as a wonderful example for women, adding that the university was proud to be associated with her.
Student leader Mxolisi Zoko said they were disappointed that Madikizela-Mandela was not able to receive the award herself. “She was supposed to be given the doctorate during the May graduation ceremony but she sadly passed away a few weeks before that. We want the university to keep honouring such heroes.”
Three doctorates were also conferred to students Sanction Madambi, Nomvuyo Mdlame and Mziwonke Luningo.