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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tribute to Mam’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Bathabile Dlamini

The current president of the African National Congress Wowen’s League, Bathabile Dlamini, has written a heart warming tribute for her friend, mentor and comrade, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Nomzamo Winfreda Zanyiwe Madikizela became ANCWL president on 8 December 1993. The election came just a year after she resigned from all ANC leadership posts, including her post as Member of Parliament. She was re-elected in 1997.

Tribute by ANCWL President Bathabile Dlamini on passing of Winnie Mandela

The biggest tree has fallen.

A woman amongst women has fallen.

An icon of the struggle, iqhawe lamaqhawe lihambile!

Umaphuma efumbethe esiswini sikanina aze ahambe efumbethe ukuba yinkokheli yabantu.

South Africa has a long time to wait until she gets such a lioness who fought the apartheid regime as well as the oppression of women and patriarchy within the ANC with the might it deserved.

A real daughter of the soil. The rock of our nation is no more.

My heart bleeds but I know the hearts of many women celebrate because of what she did for them.

She fought tirelessly and defended the whole nation. Even when it seemed the enemy gained power in destroying her, she prevailed and stood the test of time.

I am so sorry that Queen Mother from the United States will not be able to see Mam’Winnie as she told our SG Meokgo [Matuba] in the UN recently that it was very urgent that she met Mama Winnie!

I am sorry to you SG that this happens whilst you were preparing for Queen Mother’s journey to South Africa.

I am sure that much as we are crying we are proud to be her products. We are proud because she gave us an opportunity to celebrate her life where women like Hendrietta Bokgopane-Zulu (is currently serving as the Deputy Minister of Social Development)  and Criselda Kananda-Dudumashe had an opportunity to wear the women’s league blouse in her presence.

Throughout that process of celebrating her life, she allowed us to show our small ability to honour her bravery, her love, commitment and ability of an unassuming daughter of the soil.

Nothing was ever able to shut her down!

When Bab’uGwala [Harry] told us that Mam’ Winnie never joined government but joined the ANC when she was fired from Cabinet. We were made better persons with Sis’ Thandi Modise and Lulu Xingwana.

We wanted to fight for her to remain in Cabinet and Bab’uGwala said no one can expel Winnie from the ANC and indeed no one expelled her from the her organisation, the ANC.

She and Bab’Gwala marshalled very angry forces who had numerously been attacked by the third force and the forces of darkness at the memorial service of Chris Hani in Pietermaritzburg’s former market square. It was during that period at a Stadium in Johannesburg where Bab’uGwala predicted that South Africa will never be the same.

I have known so many people in the ANC. I have come across many heroes and heroines of the struggle, but I have never come across such a fighter. A fighter who would fight without any support from even her own political party. She even fought when her own political party disowned her. Mam’ Winnie continued with the fight for liberation and her own personal freedom without any weapon.

Mama sent young people out of the country to train as freedom fighters for the liberation of the country.

Mam’ Winnie had love for everyone: her children, the children of the struggle and the soldiers of uMkhonto weSizwe. She even loved those that hated her with a passion.

She was a real soldier. She even welcomed the whites who were a symbol of apartheid and repression.

Touch the ANC and you touch her soul. Touch her kids, touch Shell house and Touch the youth league, you will know you have touched her.

Touch Chris Hani, Touch Harry Gwala, Tony Yengeni, Jeff Radebe, Peter Mokaba, Bantu Holomisa!

Touch Ace Magashule, Touch the women you will see her!

Mama would have been much satisfied if the struggle was won in the battlefield, but she accepted the decision of the leadership to negotiate.

She had respect for MaSisulu, MaTambo, Mme Matomela.

She had great respect for Charlotte Maxeke, Ida Mntwana.

She had great love and respect for Lillian Ngoyi, who was an orator much like her.

She loved Ray Alexander, Mam’Holo, MaBertha and Mme Ruth Mompati.

Mam’Winnie did not mind us meeting at Shaft 17 as long as there was progress and vibrancy in the women’s league. Women wanted to hear from her at all time.

Everyone wanted to surround her like the Queen she was.

She loved and had a soft spot for Peter Mokaba, Lulu Xingwana and Malusi Gigaba. She loved Fikile Mbalula and Julius Malema for their roaring voices and their ability to shake the youth and to defend the ANC.

A beautiful woman inside and outside. A beautiful woman who had her contest with the masses of the country. She had the toughest of contests. It was one of war meant to be fought by men and not just ordinary men but only brave men and women who participated in this struggle.

Her contest was not for the wicked but for those who had a very deep understanding of the freedom of the mind; freedom from the chains of apartheid and freedom from poverty.

Her spirit was never dampened by Brandfort, where she was banished, but instead she was more productive and she liberated herself from banishment

Mam’ Winnie never undermined the people of South Africa.

She reminded me that I was from the rural areas whenever she made us drink water or Amarewu.

A very neat woman who would serve us with her best cutlery and crockery. She kept reminding us who we were and where we came from through her actions not through her words.

She was a special leader who led by example.

She was able to keep the pain inside her beautiful heart. She never cried in the presence of those who were suffering. She would become a lioness and only cry during her private moments. You would only see her watery shining eyes when it was difficult. Never could shed a tear.

It is very heartening that a woman who was crucified by many goes during this period of Easter.

Mam’ Winnie refused to be confined!

She would come to an ANC rally draped in her John Wesley women’s Manyano uniform (The Methodist Women’s Prayer and Service Union as it appears on our pin- is commonly known as the Women’s Manyano ) for she knew the power of prayer.

Makhosikazi, let us all in our numbers pray for the spirit of Mam’ Winnie to Rest In Peace.

Let us pray for the Nation, let us for forgiveness. There was a lot of good that was done by Mam’ Winnie.

Hamba kahle Zanyiwe! Hamba Kahle qhawe lamaqhawe! 

Hamba Kahle Mangutyana!

Mama, you earned being Mother of the Nation and no one could take that away from you! We will always love you Mama.

Sohlala sikukhumbula! 

Thank you Zenani and Zindzi for sharing your Mom with the Nation. Thank you to Mama’s grandchildren for sharing your grandmother with the Nation. Thank you to the Madikizela and the Mandela family for sharing your daughter with us. Thank you to the people of Mbizana and her family especially her siblings for sharing Mama with us.

Thank you Mama for being a visionary and sharing your medical social work with the Nation.

Thank you to Sis’ Zodwa and everyone who did the work of the Nation by looking after Mam’ Winnie with love and excellence.

Thank you for you love and patience. Thank you for your accepting everyone and opening your hearts to each and everyone of us.



Roar young lions roar!!!

Bathabile Dlamini is President of the ANCWL


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