By Daniella Flanagan
HOUSTON, TX – Winnie Madikizela Mandela, an African National Congress struggle veteran has died at aged 81 in South Africa.
Mandela, who is also known as The Mother of South Africa (SA), passed away on April 2, 2018 at NetCare’s Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg due to an unspecified lingering illness.
According to knowledgeable sources, Mama Mandela, whose Xhosa name is Nomzamo (She who tries), lived a controversial life although she does not deserve the shame she suffered. Many South Africans will celebrate her as great freedom fighter.
The same sources said that in her youth, Mama Mandela was offered a scholarship in the USA but decided to stay in South Africa. She then moved to Johannesburg alone, a young girl from Pondoland, and started work at Bara. Her sacrifices for SA started long before her marriage to Nelson Mandela.
They added that Mama Mandela was politically aware and involved in activism from a young age. She is also the first qualified black social worker in SA. A bright student, top of her class, she did research in Alexandra township to establish the rate of infantile mortality.
Her supporters asked that as Mama Mandela is remembered, the SA nation should take a moment to reflect on what she went through when she was imprisoned in solitary confinement for 491 days.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and as he paid tribute to Mama Mandela, Rev. Jesse Jackson shared his memories of Mam’ Winnie and the intersection of the South African anti-apartheid struggle with the US civil rights movement.
He told the listeners of the South African Broadcasting Company (SABC) that “We will always remember her, and her struggle till the end. She had a strength that was universal. Jail cells could not contain the struggle for freedom and dignity in South Africa.”
On the other hand, the families of some former ANC presidents in KwaZulu-Natal have described Ms. Mandela as a woman who remained resilient despite being terrorized by apartheid police.
They quoted Mama Mandela as saying “There is no longer anything I can fear. There is nothing the apartheid government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known…I am honored to have served my people and to live my purpose.”
According to them her courage was incomparable. Many South Africans always looked at her fierce fearless spirit throughout the course of history as a source of motivation and inspiration, encouragement for them to continue to fight, confront the enemy without fear. She led the fight against colonialism from the front.
A nation in mourning
SA authorities, meanwhile, said the funeral of the late ANC stalwart will be held at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, Johannesburg on Saturday the 14th of April, 2018.
All flags across the country and at all South African missions abroad are flying at half-mast until the evening of anti- apartheid struggle icon funeral. Moreover, 12 days of national mourning, beginning April 3, were declared in the country.