The news of the passing of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela found me unprepared and unwilling to accept the reality of such a grave tragedy for our people and our country.
For many of us who have worked closely with her and got to know and learn from her, the news has been devastating and it had not been possible to provide an immediate reaction.
This is because in Mama Winnie, we have all lost a mother who shared everything with us.
Through her dedication to the struggle of our people, she had become the true embodiment of selflessness.
It is this spirit of selflessness that has inspired many to emulate her, to know that nothing less than total submission to the cause of our people will bring about our freedom, even if this may come at a great personal cost, like it did with her.
In giving everything, Mama Winnie also lost everything.
She didn’t just campaign for the plight of the women, she lived this reality herself, every day, side by side with them. Whether it be in Soweto, prison and police stations, Brandfort and in the many informal settlements, Mama was a friend of the poor, the downtrodden and the true voice for the plight of oppressed women.
Trained as a social worker, she was a pioneer in community development. This work inspired us and gave us hope, even those of us who had been campaigning for the plight of our women while in exile.
Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula