Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela-Mandela was – and still is – a phenomenal giant in her personality and poise.
Winnie Mandela is always comfortable with her environment and owns her situation.
Her demeanour remained the same, polished, irrespective of the degradation of her places of confinement during the apartheid years.
With constant harassment and intimidation, she exuded confidence and esteem.
She remains amiable to persons she meets and loves to embrace everyone, including women of low socioeconomic status.
Winnie do not allow security concerns to hinder her interactions with her people, whom she recognise as the pillar of the struggle for liberation.
The rights of citizens she fought to defend and for which she suffered much lose of freedom.
While a deputy Minister, Winnie made a point of embracing the women who cleaned her offices.
– A woman of the people she is.
Winnie is as comfortable in refined clothes as she is in simple attire. She can appear with full make-up and look glamorous.
She can equally sit among the poorest in the community. In fact, Winnie prefers to live in a deprived neighbourhood.
– My kind of woman she is.
Winnie, of course, is not unlike her then husband Nelson in carriage and reception of persons at the bottom of the power rung.
Winnie and Nelson sacrificed their personal spaces to uplift the oppressed people of South Africa whom they both loved.
The couple loved each other dearly, though regrettably much of that love was expressed in absentia as Nelson was in prison for 27 years.
A regret of Nelson was his absence from his wife and children.
Prison letters to Winnie from Nelson Mandela were full of love, admiration for her beauty and desire.
From his communications, Winnie was reassured of her husband’s commitment to her, never mind the hard separation.
In one letter, it was obvious their marriage was on mutual consultation and collective decision-making and planning.
They were a together couple.
After composing the title of this writing and during my research, I found Fatima Meer, a close friend and comrade of the two, were on line when she described Winnie with phrases such as “a second Mandela”, “a joint Mandela”, because “there are two Mandelas”.
During my childhood, whenever I heard the name Nelson Mandela it was in conjunction with Winnie Mandela.
They shared a dream and a reality; one was restricted from pushing for that ideal, the other kept his name fresh in the minds of the world.
Winnie retains my regard for not giving up on the reality of the dream.
I respect Nelson Mandela for taking the bold and heartbreaking decision to end his marriage to the other Mandela.
That provided each of the Mandelas the needed freedom to live as one desires.
It is my conviction that advocacy for freedom is futile unless it is expressed at home, away from the spotlight.
Winnie, the mother of South Africa, was as bereaved as everyone else who loved and held a lofty opinion of Nelson.
And as someone who played a prominent role in his life, she was duly mournful and was accorded the recognition she deserved from the South African government.