Despite her age and ailing health, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was still actively involved in uplifting the community in her home province right until her death.
Her cousin Prince Madikizela, with whom she shared a paternal grandfather, said the struggle stalwart meant everything to the family. He grew up with her in Bizana in the Eastern Cape.
“We are shocked. We thought we would be able to be with her when she was meant to graduate in May, but everything has come to an end,” he said.
Madikizela-Mandela was due to receive an honorary doctorate at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape, after recently being awarded The Honorary Doctorate of Laws of Makerere University in Uganda.
“She had been involved in the struggle and she used to bring people here to Bizana. One thing I can say about her is that she was very involved with community work till the very end,” said Madikizela.
She had recently built five classrooms and donated computers to Ndalonkulu High School near her rural home.
According to her cousin, Madikizela-Mandela was planning to meet with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi concerning delays in the construction of a clinic there.
“I was chatting to her just last week when she was worried about a poly-clinic that has been under construction for over 10 years. She wanted an update from me about what was happening.
“She was even planning on speaking to (Motsoaledi). So these are the kind of things she was always thinking about. She actually asked me to liaise with the committee responsible for that clinic and report back to her. Unfortunately, I am now too late to submit that report.”