IT was with deep sadness that I learnt of the passing of Ms Winnie Mandela on Monday, April 2, 2018. As is well known, she was the wife of Nelson Mandela, the iconic leader and first democratically elected President of South Africa.
Winnie Mandela had lived a life of sacrifice for her people. While the ANC was banned and most of its leaders were in prison or exile, Ms Mandela was the main person that gave leadership on the ground inside South Africa. She never left the country during that time.
She became a symbol of resistance and she gave hope to the non-white population of South Africa that freedom was possible and would be won by struggle.
She faced persecution, imprisonment, displacement and even jail. However, she never lost faith in the strength and wisdom of the Black majority. She was always certain that they would defeat the racist, apartheid regime, even when things looked hopeless.
The enemies of the people tried to demonise her. In so doing, they forgot the context and conditions with which she had to contend. Most of those who tried to besmirch her character were supporters and agents of the apartheid regime. Winnie Mandela was however loved and adored by the oppressed masses of the South African people. She lived a heroic, even if controversial life. She will always be remembered for her heroic defiance of the apartheid regime and her fierce loyalty to the people of South Africa.
I extend deepest sympathy to the people of South Africa and the family and friends of Winnie Mandela.