REMEMBERING THE “Mother of the Na­tion” BORN: Septem­ber 26, 1936 DIED: April 2, 2018

Inner City Gazette - - Front Page - By Moses Moyo moses­[email protected]

“Fear­less in the face of tor­ture, im­pris­on­ment, ban­ish­ment and be­trayal, she stood firm in her con­vic­tion that apartheid could be brought down.

In 1952 peo­ple across the coun­try were par­tic­i­pat­ing in the De­fi­ance Cam­paign – a series of co­or­di­nated strikes, mass action cam­paigns, boy­cotts, and civil dis­obe­di­ence. Madik­izela des­per­ately wanted to join the protests, but also keenly felt the sac­ri­fices her fam­ily had borne to give her the op­por­tu­nity to ed­u­cate her­self. She re­luc­tantly sat the protest out and com­pleted her stud­ies.

In 1953 she moved to Jo­han­nes­burg to study so­cial work. She quickly re­alised that the city of gold was built on the se­vere ex­ploita­tion and op­pres­sion of black South Africans. Through her work as a young so­cial worker she was ex­posed to in­hu­mane con­di­tions faced by the black work­ing class: un­in­hab­it­able homes, poor san­i­ta­tion, a lack of se­cu­rity and high in­fant mor­tal­ity rates. Her com­mit­ment to their strug­gles saw her turn down a pres­ti­gious schol­ar­ship to study at a univer­sity in Bos­ton. In­stead she joined the staff of Barag­wanath Hospi­tal as the coun­try’s first black woman so­cial worker.

Dur­ing this pe­riod she be­came more in­volved within the broad African Na­tional Congress (ANC) net­works and the work of the ANC Women’s League.

Her achieve­ments weren’t rare just for a black South African woman in a racist so­ci­ety; they were highly un­usual for any woman re­gard­less of class and race in the so­ci­ety at that time.

As were call Madik­izela’ s life it’ s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that in 1957– by the age of just 21 and be­fore she met Man­dela–she was al­ready ex­tremely ac­com­plished.

PIC­TURED: THE LATE MOTHER OF THE NA­TION. Winnie Madik­izela-Man­dela was hailed by her sup­port­ers as a fem­i­nist icon. She be­came the leader of the women’s wing of the ANC in 1993, and be­lieved that black women suf­fered from “a triple yoke of op­pres­sion”...

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