JOHANNNESBURG: The ANC Youth League is ‘shattered and saddened’ at the passing of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
In a statement issued by the league, “[the ANCYL] is shattered and saddened at the passing of Seaparankwe, Mama [Winnie]. The mother of our nation, Mama Winnie as she was affectionately known, was born in the village of Mbongweni, Bizana, in the Transkei on 26 September 1936.”
Her PA‚ Zodwa Zwane‚ confirmed the struggle veteran’s death on Monday afternoon. She said the family would issue a statement later in the day.
Born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape in 1936‚ she moved to Johannesburg to study social work after matriculating.
She met lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in 1957 and they were married a year later. They had two children together.
However‚ her marriage life with Mandela was short-lived‚ as he was arrested in 1963 and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. Mandela was eventually released in 1990.
According to the league. “She the fifth child of nine children, by teachers Columbus and Getrude Madikizela. A fierce revolutionary in her own right, it is small wonder why she would be the country`s first black Social Worker. We mourn the passing of our mother in these trying times as Mama Winnie has left an immense void among South Africa`s youth, whom she loved dearly.”
“Mama Winnie remains one of the struggles great icon to have contributed immensely in waging the struggle against apartheid. Her struggles and tribulations are succinctly described by her first name Nomzamo which means “she who must endure trials”. She stood against the system that continued to brutalise black people. She was officially “banned” under draconian laws intended to make her persona-non-grata, unable to work, socialize, and move freely. The gallant stalwart remained strong against injustice waged by the apartheid racist regime.”
During Mandela’s time in prison‚ Madikizela-Mandela was not spared the reach of the apartheid forces. She was placed under house arrest and at one time banished to Brandfort‚ a town in the Free State.
In 1969‚ Madikizela-Mandela became one of the first detainees under Section 6 of the notorious Terrorism Act of 1967. She was detained for 18 months in solitary confinement in a condemned cell at Pretoria Central Prison before being charged under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950.
“Her contribution to the struggle is responsible for our freedom. Mama Winnie dedicated her life to ensuring that the indigent and dispossessed are integrated in the economy. As the Youth League, we derives our mandate from her wisdom to advocate for Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime.”
The Youth League said they will used Mama Winnie’s love of education to further emancipate young people. “Her love for education remains the only weapon that she used to liberate young people from the shackles of poverty. Mama Winnie enduring fight for justice earned her an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the internationally renowned Makere University. She encouraged young people to further educate themselves so that they become better leaders of society,” ANC Youth League Secretary-General Njabulo Nzuza said.
“The ANCYL is robbed by the loss of Mama Winnie and her passing has not only shattered the Mandela family, but the international community as whole. On behalf the ANCYL, we are grateful to the Mandela family for having to allow us to share your beautiful and inspirational daughter for the betterment of the lives of our people. We say, Mama Winnie, we thank you,” the league said.