A few days ago, South African anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the age of 81. Considering the level of youth violence in London, may her death serve as poignant reminder to us all young and old, what it means to fight for a purpose. What it means to fight out of hardship.
Winnie Mandela was a commendable activist who suffered greatly but fought ruthlessly to heal her nation. She was not only the ex-wife an undeniably great man. She was a freedom fighter and a revolutionary who was at the frontline of the anti-apartheid struggle.
Winnie suffered at the hands of the apartheid authorities, left to raise two young children when her husband was given a life sentence in 1962 and later facing imprisonment herself.
In 1969, Winnie Mandela was locked in solitary confinement for 491 days. She was tortured and left in her cell even whilst menstruating, without sanitary towels.
Later in 1979, apartheid authorities banished Winnie from Johannesburg and into the rural areas where for many years she was on house arrest. Throughout this she carried on advocating revolution and calling for the end of apartheid.
For the most part, the recent passing of Winnie Mandela has invoked sorrow in many.
Although some of Winnie Mandela’s methods and action have been criticised, she was a leader in the ANC and played a prominent role in encouraging people to support and participate in the fight to end apartheid in South Africa.
Winnie endured and survived a lot of anguish and torture at the hands of the apartheid authorities. She was deeply affected by the trauma she went through and was not willing to easily forget how she and her people had suffered.
Whatever your stand on Winnie Mandela is, peaceful protest did not end apartheid.
Furthermore, there is no doubt that Winnie Mandela left her mark. Her years of tireless campaigning and fighting cannot be overshadowed.
I invite you to research the men society has celebrated throughout history and learn what they have been forgiven for. In many cases, their mistakes do not erase the greatness of their actions.
The questionable actions of Winnie Mandela will not leave a blemish on the influence she has had on South Africa and the World.
by Fadumo Khamis