Call to rename Women's Day after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Call to rename Women's Day after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Call to rename Women's Day after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Hundreds of people are dancing and singing in the streets of Soweto to pay tribute to South Africa's anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Their first home, No. 8115 on Vilakazi Street, also in Soweto, is today a museum that's a big drawcard for tourists from the world over.

Politicians were among the first to send their condolences. "I think there is sufficient consensus that she is a fearless person who contributed immensely to the freedom of this country". This room was filled with rugs and gifts to Mandela from the Angolan president after his release from prison.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has expressed its sorrow at the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who died after a long illness, at the age of 81, on Monday.

"She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognizable faces".

"They say life can never be the same after the death of one's mother, irrespective of your relationship with her".

Despite being convicted of kidnapping, theft and fraud, Winnie Mandela served in South Africa's parliament for years. May #WinnieMandela now rest in God's flawless peace.

"Somewhere it seems that something went wrong", magistrate Peet Johnson said as he sentenced her to five years in jail, later overturned on appeal.

"I had so little time to love him". He was breathing with difficulty.

In 1976, the year of the Soweto riots, she was banished from the township to a remote rural area.

The experience, she wrote, was "what changed me, what brutalized me so much that I knew what it is to hate". "And he was gone!" Winnie Mandela was banned because of her support for these actions.

"And that's exactly what happened". I felt as though I had a new and second chance at life.

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Even before they were separated by Nelson Mandela's long stay in prison, she had become politicized, being jailed for two weeks while pregnant for participating in a women's protest of apartheid restrictions on blacks. But for some reason, God decided I should be there...

But Mrs Madikizela-Mandela - an icon of the struggle - also found herself mired in controversy.

Soon after his release from prison, on 11 February 1990 - when Winnie famously walked with him, hand in hand, clenched fist in the air - Mandela had returned to 8115, the house on Vilakazi Street.

Known as the mother of the nation, Winnie dedicated most of her adult life for the betterment of people. In 1969, she was jailed for nearly 18 months.

"It is a tragedy that he lived and saw what was happening, we can not pretend like South Africa is not in crisis, our country is in crisis and anyone who can not see that is just bluffing themselves". In her book, 491 Days, published by Pan Mac8millan, she shares her depths of despair and resilience.

"I don't think I would be here if I had that continued feeling".

"I was not consulted", she told CNN in June that year.

After Mandela's death, however, she became involved in disputes over his inheritance.

"It's a political legacy", she answered her own question. "My days will come to an end here with the people I threw stones with".

Long live Winnie Mandela!

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