Anti-apartheid heroine and ANC veteran Lillian Diedericks, who was part of the leadership of women who marched to Pretoria On August 9, 1956, has called Winnie Madikizela-Mandela one of the last struggle heroines, and said she was saddened by her passing.
“She was very strong, and also, like anyone else, she has had her weak points, but she always came out strong,” Diedericks told the SABC.
She said when she heard the news about Madikizela-Mandela’s passing, she thought back to when she first met her through her former husband, the late Nelson Mandela.
Diedericks said all freedom fighters of yesteryear shared the common goal of liberating the whole of South Africa from the oppressive and segregationist rule of the Apartheid regime.
“We worked through that. And when my comrades were jailed, I was banned for five years, but I survived that, that was in the 60s,” she said.
The 92-year-old said Madikizela-Mandela was a young mother when she, Diedericks, got to know her.
“She wasn’t very talkative. She was for me the real makoti [wife], a woman who knew in her mind and heart what she also wanted because getting involved with a person like Nelson Mandela was huge,” she said.
Diedericks said in the Eastern Cape the mother of the nation was never forsaken, but was loved for her personality.
She described Madikizela-Mandela as a soft-spoken stalwart.