Winnie Madikezela-Mandela, who would have turned 86 on Monday and was remembered by her party, the African National Congress (ANC), on Tuesday.
Madikizela-Mandela passed away on April 2, 2018.
During a celebration held in her honour in Brandfort, Free State, ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile stated, “We are grateful for her life, a life of selfless service to her movement, the ANC, and to her country, South Africa.”
In May 1977, the apartheid government banished Madikizela-Mandela to house 802 Majemasweu, Brandfort in the Free State.
She collaborated with the non-profit group, Operation Hunger to establish a creche.
Together with the late Dr Abu Baker Asvat, Madikizela-Mandela also founded a clinic in her neighbourhood.
The government was angry with Madikizela-Mandela when she was sent to Brandfort.
Mashatile quoted Mama as saying, “I no longer have the emotion of fear… there is nothing left to fear. There is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I don’t know.”
In his eulogy for Mama Winnie, the ANC Secretary-General said she was a pillar of strength and a constant threat to oppressors, while inspiring the fighting masses.
According Mashatile, Mama Winnie was unfazed by the slander and harassment she endured during apartheid.
“The brutality of apartheid only bolstered her resolve to aid the disadvantaged and made her stronger.” They thought they’d crumble when our oppressors sent her to Brandford,” Mashatile explained.
Mashatile said many have emulated her life, stating, “We are here today to remember Mama Winnie, and to prove that she was one of us without hesitation.”
Mashatile believes that, if Winnie were still alive, she would urge the government to take extraordinary and urgent measures to accelerate inclusive growth, create employment, alleviate poverty, and narrow the inequality gap.
“She would urge the ANC to implement measures to cushion the poor against the rising cost of living,” he said.
In the wake of femicide and abuse against women and children, Mashatile said comrade Winnie would demand an end to gender-based violence.
“She spoke truth to power loudly, unapologetically, and fearlessly.”