Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
26 Sep 2020
11:23 am

Remembering Winnie Mandela

Gopolang Moloko

Makhubo said she hoped in time William Nicol Drive would be renamed after Winnie Mandela.

Winnie Mandela during protest. Image: Twitter/Brian_Potsi

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo was among a plethora of people who celebrated the life of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela on Saturday.

Mandela, ex-wife of the former South African President Nelson Mandela died in hospital after falling ill at 81-years in 2018.

Makhubo was among the many who took to social media to send well wishes to the family but also to remember one of the country’s most controversial figures.

The Joburg mayor was at the Fourways Memorial Park on Saturday to pay his respects to Mandela, on the day she would have turned 84.

Makhubo said the city wanted to pay its respect and launch the start of the public participation process to rename William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela.

“The name should be finalised with the family as soon as all processes are followed,” Makhubo said.

Adored for her fierce activism, the mother of the nation, as she was affectionately known was no stranger to leadership. She was one of the few remaining representatives of activists who led a fight against apartheid.

While political figures such as Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula described her as a great symbol for resistance against a brutal government, she today has been fiercely celebrated by women and men globally.

Born Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela, and always known simply as “Winnie”, she was married to Nelson for 38 years.

Most of their marriage was spent apart, with Nelson imprisoned for 27 years, leaving her to raise their two daughters alone and to keep alive his political dream under the repressive white-minority regime.

In 1990 the world watched when Nelson Mandela finally walked out of prison, hand in hand with Winnie, only to separated two years later and divorced in 1996.

With or without Nelson, Winnie built her own role as a tough, glamourous and outspoken black activist with a loyal grassroots following in the segregated townships.

She was born September 26, 1936, in the village of Mbongweni in what is now Eastern Cape.

(Background reporting: AFP)

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