The heroism and unconditional selflessness of a mother has been a pivotal element in the liberation of South Africa from oppression during the apartheid era.
Our history is abound with extraordinary women who have heeded the cries of a nation and its people, whose desperate bellows echoed for freedom and dignity.
It was these cries of liberation and the injustices brought about by an apartheid regime that birthed the emergence of women such as Albertina Sisulu — hailed as “the mother of nation” to advocate for the human rights.
The role of women in the greater context of the nation’s struggle for freedom has been spurring the ANC spirit of resistance since the early days of the governing party.
Owing to their resolute activism, a proliferation of women which included the likes of Sisulu, Lillian Masediba Matabane Ngoyi referred to as “Mma Ngoyi” and Charlotte Maxeke known as the “Mother of Black Freedom” and Adelaide “Mama” Tambo collectively became, the Mothers of South Africa’s liberation.
As a mother instinctively defends a child, these women became pioneers defending the principles of emancipation, not just of women but of an entire nation as well.
The progression of a mother’s enduring commitment to the struggle within the ANC was further embodied through Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who became the “Mother of the Nation” — a tribute to her unreserved and steadfast stance as well as her resilience against the atrocities perpetrated by an apartheid government on her, and her family.
The role of a mother in the modern context is exemplified in the governing party’s aims of creating a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.
Our mothers are the pillars of society and the nurturers of the nation. It is this matriarchal ideology — which drives the development of women into roles of authority and strength.
The consciousness of mothers continues to be at the epicentre of the ANC in full acknowledgement of the selflessness and service they provide to the greater community.
It is with this ideology that the ANC continues to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality and breaking the negative stereotypes, cultural and traditional practices in addressing the violence against our mothers and children in safeguarding a better life for our mothers.
Exemplified by the Ministry of Small Business Development in striving for the economic development of women in our country’s communities, many of whom are mothers; last year’s Women’s Imbizo in Bela Bela culminated in the engagement of about 250 women, representing women’s organisations and people with disabilities.
The focus of the Imbizo was on the economic empowerment of women, emphasising on the philosophies of our mothers playing the role of economic liberators, within our communities as opposed to being passive recipients of service delivery.
This gusto by our mothers today, to overcome their economic limitations mirrors the same passion exhibited by the women who fought for the liberation of South Africa.
To build a successful nation — successful homes must be established. Mothers will forever be homemakers — the foundation of every community.
Thus, it is integral that these nurturers pick up the baton handed to them by the heroines of the struggle in shaping communities through the foundations laid by the ANC’s policies which continue in the empowerment of our women.
The embodiment of mother is the full acknowledgment of her responsibility to her family and duty to her country.
Our struggle heroines were women with families yet were prompted to play an active role in the emancipation of our country — this is the cornerstone of responsible citizenship and speaks of advancing people’s power in every community.
Lindiwe Zulu: Minister of Small Business Development