By Sibongiseni Delihlazo
WITH each day passing since the country’s heroine passed on, the more it dawns on almost all South Africans that the Mother of The Nation, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was subjected to ill-treatment that she never deserved.
The afternoon of Easter Monday of this year (2 April 2018) will surely go down in the history books as one of the darkest days to befall the country’s thriving democracy for the lead torch bearer to freedom ceased to breath at Milpark Hospital, putting to memory over six decades of committed struggle against the brutal system of apartheid.
Her death, however, seems to have led to the multiplication of Winnie, as majority women honoured her passing through wearing of doek as a symbol of her long-standing fearlessness under the hashtags #WinnieHasNotDied #WinnieMultiplied.
POWER: Women staff members at DENOSA Head Office in Pretoria in their traditional attire, in solidarity with the spirit of Mother of The Nation, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Former agents of the apartheid regime, especially those in the strategic communications division where propaganda machinery was at the pinnacle in trashing revolt against the system, have eventually came clean and admitted that many campaigns were targeted at tarnishing Winnie’s image in the eyes of the black nation. The campaign to implicate her in the Stompie Seipei’s death is the one that almost succeeded in creating a distance between herself and the black masses that she was leading. This was the time when political parties the ANC, PAC and SACP were banned, and the society was left with no leadership movement. But Winnie stepped in and led the society fearlessly, not without suffering the consequences. She had spent 490 days is solitary confinement, and she was moved to Brandfort in the Free State where she was under house arrest. But all these could not break her – if anything they made her more resilient.
But it came to light that Stompie was killed not by Winnie, but by Jerry Richardson, who was a member of the infamous Mandela United Football Club, to cover his own tracks as he was reportedly the apartheid-era spy in Soweto. For too long this incident had lingered in the face of Winnie to a point where many citizens had bought to the concocted story. To a large extent, the National Party propaganda machine was working, to a point where Winnie was almost isolated from her own party’s leadership echelons.
The propaganda also cost her her own marriage with Madiba. Such was the prize this gallant fighter had to pay for her part in the struggle, on top of emotional disintegration. The sad part is that most of this information has come to light after her documentary was aired to the public recently.
During her memorial service period as a lead-up to her funeral, women across the country paid respect to her in the best way – doek and a fist – to signal that ‘Aluta Continua!’
DENOSA women too were Winnie Mandela, because #WinnieMultiplied
She will be laid to rest on 14 April in Johannesburg.
May her soul rest in peace.