Editor’s Note: Day two of curating the tributes and thoughts of African feminists about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (26th September 1936 – 2nd April 2018).
As expected there are a lot of disrespectful narratives shared on several platforms downplaying Winnie’s role in the liberation of South Africa, bringing home the importance of the alternative voices insisting on telling her story as is.
I was silent for quite a while before I could even attempt to unknot my feelings.
The only person whose legitimacy I have ever recognized as Mother of a nation.
‘I am me; I am black; I must be proud of my blackness. – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie Mandela was a woman of outstanding courage. She kept Mandela’s name alive for 27 eternal years and helped create the myth of the unseen Mandela. When Mandela gained freedom, Winnie had to be torn down in order to create a new Mandela myth. A woman’s lot. Rest in Power.
“I am not [Nelson] Mandela’s product. I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy.” ~Mama Winnie Mandela
Thabo Mbeki had better keep quiet.
And my, something that is not often remarked upon: Winnie Mandela was a great beauty.
‘Are you aware she used violence,’ someone tweets at me.
As if the men that took part in the guerrilla struggle went into the bush to eat scones.
I have today avoided going to the great world news sites to read their obituaries of Winnie Mandela, something I would ordinarily do. They are too invested in a skewed narrative of Winnie. So, I quarantine myself of them. And I am watching not CNN but SABC’s respectful coverage.
Goodnight, Winnie Mandela
On this day I tried
To reclaim the narrative.
I kept the faith.
Goodnight, Winnie Mandela.
For me, she was the symbol of the struggle against apartheid. She was the mother of a nation. All her detractors can go and jump off a cliff.
Go well, Mama Winnie Mandela.