Ayanda Mdluli, ANA news and Reuters
Struggle stalwart and mother of the nation Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has passed away at the age of 81 years old.
The spirit of Madikizela-Mandela — mother, freedom fighter, women’s rights activist and tireless champion of the defenceless — would remain alive in the South African Parliament, its presiding officers said on Monday night.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise, in a statement, said they were shocked at news of Madikizela-Mandela’s passing, saying the country and the world had lost a woman who “embodied the brave character of an unflinching woman in the wake of all odds against her”.
“She will be greatly missed, and Parliament trusts that together we will cherish and celebrate her life. Today we have indeed lost a great leader, a champion of freedom and development, a people’s hero, and a Mother, and a defender of the down-trodden,” a statement from the two presiding officers said.
“Our Mother has not died, she has just passed-on the baton to us, both men and women in Parliament, in government, and in the society at large, so that the ideals she lived and struggle for, can be realised in our lifetime.”
Women’s Day should be renamed Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Day to honour her contribution to South Africa’s freedom struggle, the Forum 4 Service Delivery said on Monday.
“F4SD calls for the 9 August [Women’s Day] to be renamed Winnie Mandela Day in order to honour this stalwart,” said party leader Mbahare Kekana.
Madikizela-Mandela was an MP as well as first lady from 1994 to 1996 when she and Nelson Mandela, democratic South Africa’s founding father, divorced.
She is survived by her and Mandela’s two daughters, Zindziswa Mandela-Hlongwane and Zenani Mandela, as well as several grandchildren.
Although details are still sketchy, Madikizela-Mandela has been in and out of hospital since the beginning of the year.
The former South African first lady was born in the village of Mbongweni, Bizana, in the Transkei.
She was recently admitted to Milpark Hospital due to an infection affecting her kidneys.
Madikizela-Mandela was instrumental in the fight against apartheid and is widely regarded as a revolutionary in the South African political scene.
May the soul of this true revolutionary rest in eternal peace. Radical economic transformation including land expropriation without compensation will be a fitting tribute to this selfless freedom fighter.Thank you Mama pic.twitter.com/r3LtRpcTRR
— Steve Motale (@SteveMotale) April 2, 2018
— Tbo Touch (@iamtbotouch) April 2, 2018
RIP Winnie. pic.twitter.com/dp8UtjvorK
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) April 2, 2018
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) April 2, 2018
Leaders come and go like a wave of the sea, the agenda remains with us, let’s soldier on and realize the proceeds of the hard fought struggle in our life time, Aluta Continua!!!
Rest In Power, Winnie Mandela✊? pic.twitter.com/6dxi4GCcJN
— #VoteBLF2019 (@BrianTloubatla) April 2, 2018