Rest In Power Mother of the Nation, Mentor of the South African Youth.

Coming into terms with such a loss is not easy, especially for those among us who drew direct inspiration from her. She may have been old as per the dictates of nature, but she remained young to some of us since her influence and words of guidance reveberate like echoes on the hills and valleys occupied by the dispossessed. It was in the Congress of the South African Students (COSAS) when one got inspired by Mama Winnie Mandela’s contribution in the South African struggle. COSAS declared her as its lifetime President and such contributed immensely on the mobilization and agitation of leaners in particular and youth in general throughout the country. It was in COSAS where young women and men wished that they were old enough and there in the midst to partake in the struggle for liberation during the time when Mama Winnie was a subject of torture by the brutal regime of white supremacy.

There is no one on earth that can endure such brutal treatment as meted out against Mama Winnie by the white regime except those who were ambassadors and sympathizers of the regime. Mama Winnie was not a mistake of the struggle like many in our ranks who have shown that theirs was for the gravy train. She never succumbed into the pressures of compromises of a post-1994 South Africa nor being a pawn on the basis of blue light and tenders; remained true to her beliefs, held to her guns and called a spade by its name. We will forever be indebted to her resilience. She had a rare ability to not only speak truth to power but to make power truthful and truth powerful. Her and truth belonged to the same WhatsApp group, in fact they were both administrators of the group.

Many young women and man underwent their political circumcision inspired by her spirit and fearlessness in facing the enemy head on. I wish we could have replaced her death with those who are using the Movement to enrich themselves and their loved ones at the expense of the working class and the poor. I so wish we could have replaced you with those in youth leadership who uses the struggle and desperation of youth to create wealth for themselves and their unholy alliances. I hope we could replace your place in death by the ambassadors of corruption, greed, factionalism.

We may not need tires, patrol and matches now to fight the current struggles but we need your strength to face the worse enemy which has changed entirely from the days of your struggles though there are still remnants of the trait of the old enemy in the new. The enemy now is in the same skin as ours, eat on the same plate as ours, sing and chant the same slogans as ours. We wish to emulate you by being unapologetic and intolerant of wrong things and confront those who mimicked living angels using your name to find glory and prestige when they attempted to compel you to apologize for doing what the struggle instructed you to do.

Long live Mother of the Nation and we hope your departure will probably whisper a massage of change to all spheres of struggle particularly to the organization you were an integral part of, but most importantly the League you led with distinction. In you we had a responsible mother in the same way we had a resilient father in Cde Chris Hani who was brutally murdered by the regime which hated you and him with the same disdain. It is still awkward to believe that the hand of the regime was alone in planning and executing his assassination. Shine bright like a star that you will light up our dark paths as we navigate this terrain of struggle. Your death has given birth to many Winnie Mandela’s. You have defeated death. Live on young lady. Long live Winnie Mandela.

Isaac Luthuli
YCLSA Deputy National Secretary