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Tuesday, 02 April 2024 18:05

Madikizela-Mandela praised for her loyalty to the ANC despite her struggles.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Family and friends of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela marked the anniversary of her passing with a wreath-laying ceremony at Fourways Memorial Park on Tuesday.

Mam' Winnie, as she was affectionately known, died six years ago on this day at Milpark hospital at the age of 81.

Madikizela-Mandela was a firebrand activist who fought the apartheid regime. She did not hold back in criticising the African National Congress (ANC), the party to which she was fiercely loyal throughout her political life.

Addressing the ANCWL and family of Madikizela-Mandela at the ceremony, Deputy secretary-general of the African National Congress (ANC) Nomvula Mokonyane praised the late stalwart for her loyalty to the ANC despite her struggles.

She said Madikizela-Mandela died an ANC member despite the many opportunities for her to leave the organisation.

"Today, we are just a few days after we have celebrated and have gone through the passion of Christ. In our own country, if you want to contextualise the passion of Christ and identify somebody who had gone through the station of the cross and only at a time when she was laid to rest here, even her worst enemies laid claim on her, acknowledged and celebrated her," said Mokonyane.

"Just as we saw with what happened with Jesus Christ on that cross on that fateful day, with the two criminals who were flanking him, we know that it was only when Amazulu edabuka [opened] that he was the son of God.

"We're coming here to gain strength and recommit. We are from the Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela organisation that has gone through trials themselves – the ANC. We have seen it all and we’re yet to see more."

Mokonyane said that even when Madikizela-Mandela was loved by people outside the ANC, she never left.

"Let the people of South Africa remember that with everything she went through, she never walked away from the ANC. She had every reason to walk away from the ANC, every opportunity to form her little stokvel or creche, but remained in the ANC even though she was loved by those outside the ANC and who believed that they are her followers. But because she understood she was who she was because of the ANC, she remained in the ANC."

Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, a granddaughter of the late Madikizela-Mandela, said that when going to vote, South Africans must remember the sacrifices that Madikizela-Mandela had to make alongside other struggle veterans.

"Those two important dates in our country are important for us as a family because our family was instrumental in ensuring that we can say there are 30 years of democracy, and we can go to the polls and vote. There have been a lot of conversations with my friends and family about what it means to have a vote and to make it count, and if I look around the room. I see so much representation of what 30 years ago would not have been here to vote.

"So, I think it is such a significant thing to be able to say my vote counts, whatever your vote is. As much as we are remembering my grandmother, I think it's important to remember what she did and what she sacrificed."