This evening, I learned that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had left us. The news is saddening, for we have lost a heroine and a liberator.
Though born before formal apartheid, she came of age in state devoted to White domination. She chose a life of service and valour, qualifying as a nurse, and devoting herself to the struggle for African liberty.
She soon met Nelson Mandela, with whom she had a family, and whose partner in the fight for liberation she became. When he was jailed, she continued the fight -- against incredible odds -- and held her family together, even when she was exiled, jailed and continually tormented by the apartheid state.
In the end, her courage was rewarded: she lived to see Mandela free; she lived to see her country liberated; and she went on to serve a free South Africa until her death.
In the second half of the twentieth century, Africa won its liberty. We who have it can scarcely understand the trials of those who fought for it. In the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who endured and won, we see plainly what our freedom cost. May her courage inspire us to make the most of the liberty she won for us; may her family be comforted by the memory of her heroic life; and may she rest in perpetual peace.