Tuesday, 02 April 2018

The Free State Provincial Government has learnt with sadness and shock of the passing of struggle stalwart, Mama Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The passing of Mama Winnie has left South Africa, Africa and the whole world poorer. In losing Mama Winnie, the world has lost one of its dedicated liberation fighters; a true democrat; a soldier for peace; a mother of the nation and a revolutionary.

“On behalf of the Free State Provincial Government and the people of the Free State, I would like to send our deepest condolences to the Mandela and Madikizela families; the relatives; the neighbours, the ANC Womens League and the African National Congress for losing one of our selfless activists; a mother, a grandmother and a friend.

Amongst all her contributions to humanity, we will remember Mama Winnie as an astute gender and youth activist. She was dedicated to the struggle for women emancipation as she was dedicated to the struggle for freedom and democracy for all South Africans. Because of Mama Winnie’s passion and dedication towards the youth, she remained youthful until her last days on the world of the living. May the soul of Mama Winnie Mandela Rest in eternal peace” – Hon. Premier Sefora Ntombela said.

Born Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela on 26th September 1936, in Bizana, Pondoland, in the Eastern Cape, she became a serious opponent of the oppressive and racially segregationist regime. In the course of her activism, she played a role in the founding of Black Women’s Federation (1975) and the Black Parents’ Association (1976).

Delivering her address at the launch of the Black Parents’ Association, just after the June 16 uprisings, Mama Winnie said; “Events in our own locality have reduced us as parents to shame…It is absolute disgrace that children fight battles for us whilst we run around looking for the actual tribal origin of these children before grave matters are attended to. Our duty is to fight for black solidarity, black unity and black respect…”

As we bow our heads in respect, we also honour Mama Winnie for the role she has played in the fight for our democracy. For her defiance, she was banished to House 802 in a small town of Brandfort, here in Free State in 1977. Together with her youngest daughter Zinzi, she was forced to live in a house without electricity, running water, floors nor ceilings.

Even though she was called a very dangerous woman by the Apartheid regime, she managed to establish women cooperatives, soup kitchens and other social and community development projects in Brandfort. Indeed, she earned the title of “Mother of the Nation” out of her sweats and struggles in the dusty streets of the Free State town of Brandfort. The Free State Province is proud to be associated with this revolutionary icon of the struggle.

Her contribution to the struggle saw her serving the ANC and the ANCWL with honour and distinction until her departure from this world.

“In honour of the contribution made by Mama Winnie in the struggle against racial and gender oppression, the Free State Provincial Government shall later this year erect a statue of this rare icon of the revolution” – Premier Ntombela said.

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