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Winnie Mandela: Never Half-Stepping On Road To Freedom

An activist who cared

“South African agents staked out that house 24-hours a day seven days a week when Nelson Mandela was in prison. They did that to keep tabs on Winnie and harass her. A couple of times a week shots were fired into the house when she and the girls were there,” Ngugi Githuka, a Winnie Mandela in-law, said during a 2014 interview. Historian Githuka convinced the Mandela family to transform the Vilakazi Street house into a museum and he assembled much of the initial materials for that museum.

“Every time that house was shot up, police claimed they never saw who fired the shots although they were there,” Githuka said. “Everybody knew who fired the shots. No one believed government’s denials that its agents didn’t do the shooting.”

Many media accounts of Winnie Mandela’s death have featured accounts of her shortcomings like convictions for criminal misconduct. That focus has drawn criticisms from South Africa’s Communications Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, who stated Mandela should be remembered for her strength against onslaughts by the apartheid regime not her mistakes.

“She was in a struggle and every struggle has its own casualties. That does not mean that a person can be accused of having failed o be a saint,” Mokonyane told reporters in South Africa. “Saints are sinners who keep on trying.”

Winnie Mandela’s remarks at the ‘Million Woman March’ contained universal appeal and have contemporary relevance.

Mandela fired-up the MWM crowd when she declared that the struggle for liberation by African Americans provided inspiration for the African struggles against colonialism and apartheid.

“Your long line of freedom fighters has made us proud in Africa,” Mandela said listing historic black American female activists like two 19th Century activists that few black Americans regularly reference: campaigner Sojourner Truth and journalist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Mandela reminded women of all colors and classes that they “determine what type of men populate this earth because we determine how we raise our men up to be.”

And, during her remarks, Winnie Mandela stressed to MWM attendees that “we have a shared destiny, a shared responsibility to save the world from those who attempt to destroy it.”



story | by Dr. Radut