News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
3 Apr 2018
1:35 pm

WATCH: In Brandfort, 1983, Winnie is certain that ‘freedom is coming’

Gosebo Mathope

In the rare footage, Madikizela-Mandela states that being in 'exile' is absolutely worth it, as freedom and liberation will occur in her lifetime.

In a rare historical documentary called ‘The Banishment of Winnie Mandela’, we take a look at the segment on a 1983 Brandfort interview in which Madikizela-Mandela explained how the banishment failed to kill her spirit.

Described as “South Africa’s first lady in exile during Nelson Mandela’s 23rd year of imprisonment at Robben Island”, she says when she met and married Nelson Mandela he was already a prisoner during the Rivonia Trial.

She explains that on June 14, 1948, Mandela had been granted four days from the trial, during which he travelled to the Transkei to get married to her.

“Exile here [Brandfort] means being in prison at your own expense. It is extreme isolation. Being away from friends. You can hardly interact with the community intellectually. And worst of all not being able to be with my children.

“Oh certainly that I am completely convinced of. That is why even exile is even so worthwhile. I am absolutely certain we shall attain our liberation. Even being in exile is a constant reminder of our sickness of our society that we are prisoners in our own country,” said Madikizela-Mandela.

Dr Nthato Motlana, at the time chairperson of Soweto Committee of 10, which he founded in 1977 to oppose “puppet” urban bantu councils and set up representatives civic associations in black townships, questioned why the brutal apartheid government at the time claimed to be Christian.

“I have not come here to pray. Those who brought us Christian religion. Those who made us pray for 300 years have jettisoned that religion. They now worship ethnicity, they go to their churches every sunday to pray to God of racism. We are sick and tired of that God. I am not saying you shouldn’t pray, I am saying, isn’t there another message?” Dr Motlana asked.

Referencing the Lesotho Raid by the apartheid defence force in the 80s, Motlana said: “Here we are faced by the so-called Christian people who shot men and women and children in their beds. There was no fight, there was no hot pursuit.”


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