SUN­DAY CON­VERSE: Let­ters to the edi­tor:

The Sunday Independent - - Dispatches - Win­nie’s legacy will live on

WE shouldn’t aban­don dis­cus­sion out of tact be­cause there is an idol whom we fear to de­base. There can’t be any com­pro­mise when it is a ques­tion of es­tab­lish­ing what is a fact or point to be proven.

Some writ­ers and com­men­ta­tors ‘are us­ing words too loosely’, to quote Mal­colm X. They re­fer to Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela as “the mother of the na­tion”. Which na­tion? Be­sides this ap­pel­la­tion be­ing an ob­scen­ity, it is also a his­tor­i­cal dis­tor­tion and fal­si­fi­ca­tion.

There are peo­ple who de­serve that ti­tle more than Madik­izela-Man­dela, queens such as Queen Man­tha­tise of the Bat­lokwa, for ex­am­ple, who fought wars against white set­tlers. In her no­to­ri­ous neck­lac­ing, there was not a sin­gle white per­son who was a killed in that grue­some way. Only Africans, es­pe­cially from the Black Con­scious­ness Move­ment and the PAC.

An Apla cadre, Xola Tyamza­she, wrote on Face­book that she lived a stone’s throw from Madik­izela-Man­dela’s house and that she ter­rorised the com­mu­nity. To re­gard a per­son such as Madik­izela-Man­dela as the “mother of the na­tion” is an in­sult to the fam­i­lies of Dr Abubaker As­vat of Azapo, Lolo Sono and Stom­pie Seipei.

Madik­izela-Man­dela has fallen from grace even though some in the ANC and the coun­try don’t want to ac­cept it. Why is she be­ing el­e­vated to the sta­tus of free­dom fight­ers and the­o­reti­cians Robert Sobukwe, An­ton Lem­bede, Zeph Mothopeng, Steve Biko and Onkgopotse Tiro who made his­tory and in­flu­enced events and move­ments in South Africa?

Sobukwe was a rev­o­lu­tion­ary in­tel­lec­tual, eth­i­cal leader and an incorruptible free­dom fighter who led the anti-pass cam­paign and was feared by the apartheid govern­ment.

Af­ter the March 21, 1960 anti-pass cam­paign, South Africa was never the same again, but we hardly hear about Sobukwe in the me­dia the way we have heard about the er­rant Madik­izela-Man­dela over the past few days.

Lem­bede’s African­ism in­flu­enced many gen­er­a­tions of South Africans in the Congress Youth League. But we never hear about him the way we have heard about Madik­izela-Man­dela over the past few days.

Mothopeng was in­stru­men­tal in the early 1950’s anti-Bantu Ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign and was con­victed for pre­dict­ing and lead­ing the 1976 school­child­ren’s up­ris­ing, but we never hear about him the way we have heard about Madik­izela-Man­dela over the last few days.

Steve Biko led a move­ment of stu­dents that shook the apartheid govern­ment in the 1970’s and was as­sas­si­nated in­side a po­lice sta­tion in 1977, but we don’t hear much about him the way we have heard about Madik­izela-Man­dela over the past few days.

Tiro in­flu­enced a gen­er­a­tion of school­child­ren who were the ones who took part in the 1976 up­ris­ings and was as­sas­si­nated in Gaborone, Botswana, in 1974, but we have never heard about him the way we have heard about Madik­izela-Man­dela over the past few days.

Madik­izela-Man­dela’s in­volve­ment in the Strug­gle doesn’t mean if she made blun­ders she can’t fall from grace. Why is it that the me­dia and the ANC think Madik­izela-Man­dela, who was ac­cused of mur­der­ing and ter­ror­is­ing fel­low Strug­gle mem­bers and com­mu­ni­ties, should not fall from grace?

The me­dia and ANC are guilty of bias and se­lec­tive moral­ity.

Te­bogo Brown, Wit­poortjie Mama Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela has fi­nally been laid to rest. She has done her deed, liv­ing her life to the fullest and in­spir­ing a mul­ti­tude of South Africans. The best we can do is to hon­our her tire­less ef­forts in pro­mot­ing so­cial and po­lit­i­cal jus­tice to con­tinue ex­pos­ing the in­jus­tices and call for a re­newed sense of qual­ity life for the masses.

Her life was spent in the ser­vice of the op­pressed and ex­ploited. Dur­ing the strug­gle, she stood firm. Madik­izela- Man­dela fought a quiet rev­o­lu­tion to se­cure our lib­erty.

When the his­tory of this coun­try is writ­ten, when fi­nal ac­count­ing is done, it is Madik­izela- Man­dela’s name that will be re­mem­bered long af­ter the names of pres­i­dents have been for­got­ten. Her great­ness lay in what ev­ery­body could do but doesn’t. It gives us a tiny thread of con­so­la­tion that her mem­ory has been pre­served and im­mor­talised.

The name Win­nie Man­dela has ac­quired the feel of per­ma­nence and awe which time con­fers on cer­tain his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments in the con­sis­tence of pur­pose and the unique kind of ded­i­ca­tion.

Farouk Araie.


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