“Mother of the Nation” passes
given the name “Momma Africa” by the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.), but I had not experienced anything close to the torture and suffering endured by Winnie.
I also had learned that she was my sorority sister and had become a member of Delta Sigma Theta. That brought me even closer to her. She had become one of the two most significant black female icons in my life with C. Delores Tucker. Beautiful! Brilliant! Courageous! Caring! Fearless! Faithful! What she accomplished will be felt by generations to come.
Ten years before I went to Kenya, Mrs. Mandela had won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and a few years later, she was awarded a Candace Award for Distinguished Service from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
Then in 2007 there was an opera based on her life, entitled In 2011, Jennifer Hudson played Madikizela-Mandela in the film Winnie Mandela. And in January of this year (2018), according to Wikipedia, the University Council and University Senate of Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree in recognition of her fight against apartheid in South Africa.
So Winnie Nomzano Madikizela-Mandela passed on with a newly awarded doctorate added to her various other well-deserved awards. While the world heralded her husband, Nelson Mandela, as the antiapartheid hero, she was also recognized as the force behind him and later in the forefront of the struggle as she took his place when he was locked up behind those awful prison walls.
God bless her. She was a true hero. South Africa went from an oppressive apartheid system where the white minority ruthlessly ruled over the black majority, to a democracy where everyone could vote - in part because of her strength, courage, faith and resilience. All of South Africa should honor her forever.
Rest in peace, my sister. May the good Lord welcome you with open arms as He says, “Servant, well done. What you did for the least of them, you did for me.”