Abril 20, 2018

Who was Winnie Madikizela Mandela, the controversial 'mother' of South Africa

05 Abril 2018, 12:15 | Gervasio Siguenza

Who was Winnie Madikizela Mandela, the controversial 'mother' of South Africa

Soccer fans support South Africa's Bafana Bafana during their warm-up match against Colombia on 27 May 2010 at the Soccer City stadium in Soweto South Africa

She died peacefully surrounded by friends and loved ones, a family statement said.

"Winnie Mandela leaves a huge legacy and, as we say in African culture, a enormous tree has fallen", President Cyril Ramaphosa said after visiting Madikizela-Mandela's house in Soweto, where he was surrounded by singing mourners.

She emerged as a combative anti-apartheid campaigner during her husband Nelson Mandela's decades in jail but her reputation was later tarnished by allegations of violence.

"I started to realise the abject poverty under which most people were forced to live, the appalling conditions created by the inequalities of the system", she said.

She was convicted in 1991 of kidnapping and assaulting Stompie Seipei, whom she called a police informer.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which investigated apartheid-era crimes committed by both sides, concluded that she was "politically and morally accountable for the gross violations of human rights".

They'd take out a battered old cake tin bearing the top tier of the wedding cake Nelson and Winnie - South Africa's first black social worker - never ate because he was jailed before the traditional four-day celebration could be completed.

Comrade Madikizela-Mandela dedicated her life to the betterment of her people and she worked for this realisation right until the end of her life.

Madikizela-Mandela's funeral will be on April 14, with an official memorial service on April 11. According to him she was a true revolutionary that sacrificed her life in dismantling the apartheid regime to ensure the liberation of this country.

Madikizela-Mandela passed away on Monday.

"For her (Winnie) that struggle involved separation from her husband and children, banishment, continual surveillance while bearing the expectations of the oppressed millions..."

Premier David Makhura arrives at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela home in Orlando, Soweto.

"We can't get exhausted when you have given us work to do‚" Ramaphosa said, paying fulsome praise to her appearance. All South Africans are indebted to Mama Winnie, whether they acknowledge it or not.

Ramaphosa fondly remembered his last meal with Madikizela-Mandela, saying that she was a tree that provided shade for the people of the country.

But majority of the white community slashed Ms Mandela into pieces with some accusing her of torture and violent murder of those opposed to her school of thought. For that alone, we all owe her a debt of recognition and honour, even if those sentiments incorporate the requirement of forgiveness too.

But they separated just two years later and divorced in 1996 after a legal wrangle that revealed her affair with a young bodyguard. "Her militancy, courage and defiance kept the struggle against apartheid alive", he said.

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