Social media tributes pour in for Winnie Mandela

Brilliant Wisdom, Fierce Beauty: Graça Pays Tribute To Her 'Big Sister' Winnie

EFF leader Julius Malema paid a visit to the home of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 3 April 2018. Apartheid dealt with her more than any other of its victims - denied her the pleasure of settled family life by snatching her husband into prison and even afterwards. "Despite the hardship she faced‚ she never doubted that the struggle for freedom and democracy would triumph and succeed".

The primary difference between Madikizela-Mandela and others was that she was a woman.

"She defied the repressive laws and associated patriarchy, embodied a courageous character of an unflinching woman in the wake of all odds against her throughout her life", their statement read.

The death of South Africa's veteran anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the age of 81 has sparked a national debate about how she should be remembered.

Madikizela-Mandela, once famously pictured walking hand-in-hand with her then-husband as he left prison, left a complicated legacy and was at times critical of her ex-husband.

Meanwhile‚ the African Union (AU) conveyed condolence messages, saying Madikizela-Mandela‚ a 2017 AU Commission chair lifetime achievement award winner‚ would be remembered for vast sacrifices.

Madikizela-Mandela returned to Soweto just as the townships were in turmoil. It has been told in books as well as the Hollywood movie "Winnie", starring Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson.

The young Winnie grew up in what is now Eastern Cape province and came to Johannesburg as the city's first black female social worker.

"She was in high spirits and was talking passionately".

Winnie was subjected to huge personal suffering, compounded by an institutional system of racial segregation and violence which forced her people into an existence of servitude for generations.

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Her support for "necklacing" suspected traitors by putting a tyre around their necks, dousing them with petrol and setting them alight also put her in direct conflict with her comrades.

"Her death signifies the gradual passing away of the last freedom fighters of the apartheid era". I felt as though I had a new and second chance at life. I was taken to the gym, to watch him sweat!

Baleka Mbete and Thandi Modise, parliament's presiding officers and senior officials in the ruling African National Congress (ANC), issued a statement describing Madikizela-Mandela as "a torch-bearer to gender mainstreaming, and an inspiration to millions of downtrodden women across the length and breadth of the country, across the continent and the world".

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness said Mandela's death brings into focus the significant struggle of black people throughout the world against racism and in particular apartheid in South Africa.

In 1977, she was banished to a remote town, Brandfort, where neighbors were forbidden to speak to her.

In 1986, she was widely linked to "necklacing", when suspected traitors were burnt alive by a petrol-soaked vehicle tyre being put over their head and set alight. We could have like a women's centre named after her and could be based on her principles as a person who fought for women's rights.

In 1989 14 year old Stompie Moeketsi was kidnapped, accused (wrongly) of being a police informer and murdered by Jerry Richardson, a member of the "Football Club". In his place stood Madikizela-Mandela. Her actions upon returning to Soweto in 1986 - my first year in primary school - caused problems for the ANC, who did not know how to manage it. She challenged patriarchy not only in words but also in deeds, and she suffered for it but seemed never to worry too much about how she was perceived by her opponents. But within a couple of years the marriage had collapsed amid talk of Winnie's adultery. He accused his wife of infidelity. She did much to keep his name and story alive.

The conviction appeared to end her career. She never saw colour, she saw ideas, and if you cared about the masses in this country you were on her side, and she was eternally loyal to you.

As the mother of two of Mandela's children, Madikizela-Mandela and her ex-husband appeared to rebuild a friendship in his final years. Madikizela-Mandela later became embroiled in disputes over Mandela's estate.

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