Signs the au­thor­i­ties will de­liver for Win­nie

The Sunday Independent - - News - DON MAKATILE um­n­qusho

THE PEO­PLE of Ma­jwe­masweu, Brand­fort, are un­likely to for­get Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela any time soon. And this col­lec­tive mem­ory, it would seem, is all the government needs not to put her on the back-burner.

Ma­mane, as the iconic Strug­gle stal­wart was af­fec­tion­ately called in this small town, left an in­deli­ble mark on the lo­cals. She came to Brand­fort in May 1977 on a ban­ish­ment or­der by the apartheid government. She left af­ter eight years when her house was petrol-bombed. Although she left phys­i­cally, she has never re­ally left the res­i­dents, who have fond mem­o­ries of her.

Madik­izela-Man­dela died ear­lier this year, aged 81, and was buried in Four­ways Me­mo­rial Park, north of Joburg, on April 14. One woman who will never for­get her is her friend, No­mafa Nora Moahluli, who de­fied the au­thor­i­ties’ strict or­ders to res­i­dents to os­tracise her. The school­teacher was a neigh­bour of Madik­izela-Man­dela and her daugh­ter, Zindzi, from the time they were dumped at house num­ber 802 Deep Level. She would wit­ness the fiery po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist’s count­less ef­forts to im­prove the lives of peo­ple in Ma­jwe­masweu. As a trained so­cial worker, it was sec­ond na­ture for Madik­izela-Man­dela to care. Moahluli tells how she cooked for lo­cals who drank jukutla, a ver­sion of skoki­aan, three houses from her. “She’d cook for me too.”

Their Xhosa her­itage gave them com­mon in­ter­ests, not just cook­ing (samp), but other moth­erly con­cerns too. She re­peats that the ban­ish­ment of Nomzamo, as she calls her, to Brand­fort “was a bless­ing in dis­guise, it was God’s work”. She says of the crèche: “It was all Nomzamo’s ef­forts. We opened it with only 15 chil­dren. Moth­ers were threat­ened not to take their chil­dren to this pro­ject started by the Com­mu­nist.”

To­day it caters for 57 chil­dren. On its in­ner walls are pictures of Win­nie and her late for­mer hus­band, Nel­son Man­dela, and one of Steve Biko. The word­ing un­der Ma­mane’s pic­ture reads: ‘‘Win­nie Man­dela, the first woman to open a crèche in Brand­fort Town­ship in 1983.”

The tiny tots know who she is! un­likely the adults will for­get her.

The house is due for a re­fur­bish­ment. Not much has changed, ex­cept se­cu­rity of­fi­cers are posted full-time at the gate as the au­thor­i­ties talk bud­gets. The Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture, which has taken over the mu­seum pro­ject as the house is a na­tional her­itage site, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Depart­ment di­rec­tor Ir­win Langeveld re­port­edly said R117000 was paid to the con­trac­tor and R476000 to the ar­chi­tect in the 2011/12 fi­nan­cial year. The Free State government un­der for­mer pre­mier Ace Ma­gashule poured mil­lions into the mu­seum. No work was done de­spite R8 mil­lion be­ing spent then on a pro­ject ini­ti­ated in 2005.

Moahluli’s most ur­gent wish is to see the house spruced up and a mu­seum set up in mem­ory of her friend. Last week, Free State Pre­mier Sisi Ntombela pre­sented her with a fridge “to thank me for what I did for Nomzamo”. Maybe the au­thor­i­ties too will not for­get Ma­mane. It’s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.