South Africa: Winnie Madikizela Mandela - an Enduring Symbol of Our Freedom

press release

The following motion was delivered by the DA Shadow Minister for the Presidency, Sej Motau MP , in Parliament today.

Honourable Speaker,

VOLUMES have been written, screened and spoken about "Winnie Madikizela Mandela" over the years and more extensively during the past few weeks since she passed away.

I believe that each one of us will forever carry their own memories and reflections of this remarkable South African who - until not so long ago - loomed so large in our lives.

I would like to share with you two of my own memories of the "Winnie Mandela" I got to know.

My first close encounter with her was on 6 April 1979 while I was a journalist at the Pretoria News. That was the day on which Solomon Mahlangu was executed by hanging at the gallows in Pretoria and later buried at the Mamelodi Cemetary.

(How Winnie defied her banning order and addressed large crowd at H M Pitje Stadium)

The second close encounter was on 3 December 1985, also in Mamelodi, at the funeral of 12 Mamelodi residents who had been killed by the police during a protest march in the township on 21 November 1985. I describe the events of that day in an unpublished poem I titled "Thursday Bloody Thursday."

(How Winnie calmed angry mourners after the burial)

That is the "Winnie Mandela" who inspired the Oration from the Heart, NOMZAMO. You are the first people to hear these personal reflections which I now share with you as a tribute to Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

(Take in NOMZAMO).

Tribute to Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela


Amandla! The salute roars for you, Oh Lady Elephant

You of the prophetic name, Nomzamo ka Mandela

Great Mother among true mothers of Afrika

Fearless women who grasp the knife by the blade

Adversity fuels your indomitable spirit

Your struggle for freedom knows no limit.

Innocent and free you blushed in matrimonial bliss

Tears of joy turned to heart-breaking weeping

They wrenched your love from your loving arms

Father of your children and leader of his people

They branded him member of a seditious terrorist band

They shipped him to remote, heartless Robben Island.

Alone and afraid you sobbed and drooped in dusty Soweto

Bride without a groom, wife without a husband

Both mother and father to Zenani and Zindzi

The gods of Mandela and Madikizela watched you cry

They touched your brow and brought life to your heavy heart

They stoked fire into the cold ashes in your cheerless hearth.

Bewildered shadow of the revered Nelson Mandela larger than life

Fearful girl blossomed into woman brave and strong

His jailers fumed as they watched your stature grow

They did their worst to break your body and soul

Orlando turned to prison-home as ban followed ban

Barren Brandfort was Siberia as they banished you to the bundu.

You shook the sleepy backward dorpie rudely awake

Your presence inspired pride in your people there

Threats of death followed prison and isolation

Unsatisfied they fire-bombed prison-home to ash

Living symbol of African motherhood and survival

You inspire hope and dedication to national revival.

Your courage is surpassed only by your modesty

You of the regal bearing and big, sad African eyes

They maligned and smeared your respected name

They cast aspersions on your moral character

Your reputation remains intact and untarnished

Malicious fabrications by your people banished.

Cursed to a weired world of arbitrary silence

Your precious words permeate the eerie quiet

You hold the torch of truth and freedom aloft

You dare not waver, you cannot falter

Protracted trials and tribulations of today

Are sure to bring peace to all another day!

Sej Motau MP

DA Shadow Minister for the Presidency

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