Hon­our­ing Win­nie’s legacy

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS&VIEWS -

THE pain and re­flec­tion of South Africans over the past two weeks have un­earthed sig­nif­i­cant truths and re­vi­talised a revo­lu­tion­ary spirit.

Win­nie Madik­izela-man­dela’s death may well prove to be a turn­ing point in how the na­tion – and in par­tic­u­lar the ANC – sees it­self 24 years after we went to the first demo­cratic polls.

Un­be­liev­ably to many, Madik­ize­laman­dela never saw the right­ing of wrongs with re­gard to her rep­u­ta­tion – some­thing that has hap­pened rapidly in the past 12 days.

Sud­denly peo­ple who could have re­stored her role as the Mother of the Na­tion have come to light with in­for­ma­tion that has al­tered per­cep­tions of her. Their se­crets have also con­firmed how racially di­vided South Africa re­mains.

There have been swings around that in­for­ma­tion, with even loyal in­di­vid­u­als sug­gest­ing we should not be en­tirely for­giv­ing of Mam’ Win­nie.

She made er­rors of judge­ment, prob­a­bly as a re­sult of her own pro­found trauma. Whereas some be­lieve the Mass Demo­cratic Move­ment and the ANC failed her, oth­ers say the MDM had no choice.

The late 1980s were hor­rific and Mam’ Win­nie was as vi­tal to end­ing the strug­gle as she was cen­tral to some as­pects of its vi­o­lent de­noue­ment.

So, yes, there has been pain and ela­tion. But to­day as South Africa starts to move away from a story that has oc­cu­pied our minds for two weeks, the ANC will have to in­cor­po­rate those lessons into a broader con­sid­er­a­tion of how to move for­ward.

A lot was made clear. Some of its he­roes have come away less heroic; some of its marginalised have re-emerged.

Hon­our­ing Mam’ Win­nie’s legacy is go­ing to be no easy task. Un­like Nel­son Man­dela, who was a shin­ing fig­ure of virtue when he died, we know she was more fo­cused on se­cur­ing a fu­ture for the poor than pleas­ing the mi­nor­ity.

For all her flaws, Madik­izela-man­dela was con­sis­tent on that score. She was also de­ter­mined to try to hold to­gether a move­ment fall­ing to pieces.

There can be no doubt that Mam’ Win­nie was ANC to the last, even as she em­braced the EFF as sons of the soil.

That may help the ANC. That may have given it some­thing back that it des­per­ately needed.

Now it will take all the vigour in its power to har­ness what it gained through Mam’ Win­nie and bring it­self back to its core.

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