Win­nie: A loyal cus­to­dian of our his­tory and her­itage

The Sunday Independent - - Dispatches - MTHETHELELI MNCUBE ■ Mncube is an ex MK com­bat­ant

WHERE does one be­gin to pay trib­ute to a phe­nom­e­nal woman. There is so much to say about your brav­ery, your strength, your beauty and above all your great love for your peo­ple. What is the big­gest in­sult that one can use for a woman?

Many men when an­noyed with women , of­ten call them cows, fe­male dogs, sluts and so on. In other words, women are in­sulted by be­ing called fe­male. Her very ex­is­tence is an in­sult to men.

It is fit­ting, there­fore, to open this trib­ute to Mama in her own words: “There is no longer any­thing I can fear. There is noth­ing the govern­ment has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I have not known.”

I am sure that Mama will not hold it against me, if I para­phrase her words: “There is no longer any­thing that I can fear. There is noth­ing the govern­ment and my beloved move­ment, the glo­ri­ous, black, green and gold move­ment has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I have not known.”

To me, Com­rade Win­nie, you will al­ways be the queen of our strug­gle and the queen of my heart. You are the cham­pion of re­sis­tance against the bru­tal­ity of the bo­ers and yet at the same time our morn­ing star: Mphat­lalat­sane Naledi ya meso. The bright­est star.

Mama, you never knew peace. I look at you on your wed­ding day, you look so beau­ti­ful and yet so in­no­cent. Did you know, Mama? Did you know that your wed­ding day would be the last day in which you knew hap­pi­ness?

In 1994, when we achieved po­lit­i­cal free­dom, how did you feel, Mama? I know how you felt. You cried as I was stand­ing next to you when the new flag of South Africa was hoisted high, you cried be­cause so many peo­ple suf­fered and died for this free­dom.

I know how you felt about our new na­tional an­them and I know you passed on not be­ing able to sing it in full. To me that was your sign of dis­ap­proval of it. I know how you felt, Mama.

April 2, 2018, 4.22pm is for­ever cast in stone. The heav­ens re­joiced hav­ing gained a new cit­i­zen and the earth wept, hav­ing lost a daugh­ter of the soil.

A part of me re­joices, Mama, at last you are at peace, no more shall you suf­fer.

Mama, we the mem­bers of the black, green and gold failed you. Time and time again we be­trayed you. I apol­o­gise for all the traitors who ini­ti­ated in­ves­ti­ga­tions against you to en­sure that you lived out your last days be­hind bars.

I apol­o­gise for the words of Com­rade Mbeki which cut me to the core.

I want to say sorry for Com­rade Man­tashe call­ing you ill-dis­ci­plined. Most of all I apol­o­gise on be­half of Tata who felt that it was nec­es­sary to apol­o­gise for your be­hav­iour.

Your big­gest sin, Mama, was be­ing a woman, a mother look­ing out for her chil­dren.

You took the in­sults, the ill­treat­ment in your stride. Ever the strong and jovial woman you al­ways had time for a joke. It is with a smile that I re­mem­ber your tes­ti­mony at the TRC: “I ad­mit noth­ing , I deny ev­ery­thing.”

You were cor­rect, Mama. There was noth­ing to ad­mit, noth­ing to apol­o­gise for. We in­stead are the ones who owe you an apol­ogy. On half of the ANC, Mother, we are sorry. Go now and join our an­ces­tors. Send my greet­ings to OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Harry Gwala, Wal­ter Sisulu, and Moses Mab­hida. Tell them that they did not die in vain; tell them that the land is com­ing back. Tell them that the dig­nity of the black man will at last be re­stored .Ex­tend our apolo­gies to Ruth First, Ruth Mom­pati, He­len Joseph, Dorothy Nyembe, Faith Radebe and Al­bertina Sisulu. Tell them that more than two decades af­ter po­lit­i­cal lib­er­a­tion, women are still not lib­er­ated. Women are vil­i­fied for be­ing women.

On be­half of for­mer uMkhonto weSizwe sol­diers whom you shel­tered, pro­vided with food, money and jobs, we salute you and we say thank you, we en­trust your soul to Almighty God. Rest in eter­nal and pow­er­ful peace, Mama weSizwe.

RE­SILIENT: Win­nie Madik­izela -Man­dela

Mthetheleli Mncube, right, and Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela.

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