AU ap­plauds Win­nie for her Strug­gle role

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY

THE AFRICAN Union Com­mis­sion has hon­oured anti-apartheid Strug­gle stal­wart Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela at a ban­quet in Ad­dis Ababa that was hosted for gen­der and equal­ity ac­tivists.

Al­though Madik­izela-Man­dela did not at­tend the event on Tues­day, the men­tion of her name drew loud cheers and hand-clap­ping, and some guests who were ap­par­ently ex­pect­ing to see her take the podium to ac­cept her ac­co­lade promptly stood up.

ANC Women’s League pres­i­dent Batha­bile Dlamini, who is also the so­cial de­vel­op­ment min­is­ter, at­tended the event with other se­nior party mem­bers.

She said Madik­izela-Man­dela was a very brave woman who had kept the “fire blaz­ing” and did so much to keep the name of the ANC rel­e­vant when it was banned.

Many of its lead­ers, in­clud­ing her then hus­band, Nelson Man­dela, had been ar­rested.

“Strug­gle was not a fash­ion, it was a com­mit­ment,” Dlamini said.

She added that the AU Com­mis­sion had made South Africans proud by hon­our­ing “the mother of the na­tion”.

Dlamini said Madik­ize­laMan­dela, whose award was ac­cepted by one of her grand­daugh­ters, was an in­spi­ra­tion to all women in the world who were fight­ing for gen­der equal­ity and women’s em­pow­er­ment.

She said the award was a fit­ting 80th birth­day present for Madik­izela-Man­dela.

Most of the guests were women, in­clud­ing out­go­ing AU chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane and other women from the con­ti­nent.

Madik­izela-Man­dela’s grand­daugh­ter thanked those in at­ten­dance for ac­knowl­edg­ing her grand­mother’s self­less sac­ri­fices and sa­lut­ing her courage dur­ing the Strug­gle, as well as for cel­e­brat­ing her achieve­ments, even though many in the past tried to tar­nish her name.

Ste­vie Won­der’s Happy Birth­day song was played for Madik­izela-Man­dela in her ab­sence, bring­ing most of the guests to their feet.

Dlamini Zuma led the danc­ing and was joined by other women.

There was also a big birth­day cake for Madik­izela-Man­dela that was later cut and shared among those in at­ten­dance.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.