The Business Womens Association Limpopo branch has learned with extreme shock and sadness on the ultimate passing of our Mother of the Nation, Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Mama Winnie was a symbol of the country’s anti-apartheid struggle for three decades. She also remained a beacon of hope to the women of South Africa with her quest for emancipation.
She completed her social work degree in 1955, finishing at the top of her class, and was offered a scholarship to study in the USA, however, soon after receiving the scholarship, she was offered the position of medical social worker at the Baragwanath hospital in Johannesburg, making her the first qualified, black member of staff to fill that position. Following an agonising decision about whether to leave and further her academic career in the USA, or to stay and purse her dream of becoming a social worker in the USA, she decided to stay in SA.
She was married to former state president, Mr Nelson Mandela for 38 years and it was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela who took his baton after he was jailed for life, becoming an international symbol of resistance to apartheid. During this time, she was banished to the Free State for years where police didn’t stop injustice towards her. Her house was bombed twice and she was also put in solitary confinement for 17 months.
Despite all the animosity, she retained her position as the ANC Womens League in 1993 for a decade and a year later, she won a seat in parliament as deputy minister paving the way for women in leadership.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has stated that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was a champion of justice and equality.
She will be remembered for her fight against an inhumane system, rather than for the mistakes she made in that fight. Her fight for women emancipation in our lifetime will also be remembered amist times of immense violence against women and children.
Your fearless spirit will nuture a generation of matriarchs who will lead our beautiful nation out of subjugation.
Rest in peace Mbokodo