Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s “life’s work of returning the land to the people is non-negotiable”, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said.
She was speaking at an official memorial service held for Madikizela-Mandela at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, after the struggle stalwart died on April 2.
Duarte said Madikizela-Mandela never betrayed the revolution and up to her last day, she wanted a united ANC.
How she was vilified by lies emerged since her death, Duarte continued.
But, the deputy secretary general had a message for Madikizela-Mandela’s detractors “with unforgiving hearts”: “Sit down and shut up. This is our hero.
This is our heroine. She gave everything to us,” she said.
“Cde Winnie Mandela loved the African National Congress, she made it her life.”
She said Madikizela-Mandela never turned a child away and also did not abandon her own family.
“Mama Mandela was very methodical. There were times when she taught us to learn to talk and shoot at the same time,” she said.
She added that, when the armed struggle was over, Madikizela-Mandela told them to speak about peace to the people, but to also remember that the enemy shoots with real bullets.
Turning to current-day issues, Duarte said: “Her life’s work of returning the land to the people is non-negotiable. It must happen. It will happen.”
She said the same about free education, which was also an issue Madikizela-Mandela fought for.
“Radical economic transformation is here to stay,” Duarte continued.
“All people of South Africa — black and white — need to work together.”
She said economic transformation was not for one group or another.
“It is for all of us,” she said.
“With our doeks, we will emancipate all the women of this country.”
Azapo’s Strike Thokoane and the PAC’s Narius Moloto also spoke and both mentioned Madikizela-Mandela’s commitment to land reform.
Thokoane said they wanted land, and minerals, nationalised.
Meanwhile, embattled Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said Madikizela-Mandela spoke truth to the old and the new regime.
“One of the things that Mam’ Winnie taught me was that politics was not for sissies. There were no rules for men. There were no rules for women. But she played the rules better than all of them,” De Lille said.
Although it was hosted by the EFF, the memorial service was a platform various political parties used to show a united front.
An emotional De Lille said she would always remember Madikizela-Mandela’s principles.
“The truth never changed. That is how we knew her. She was fearless. She only feared God.”
To those whose who criticised the stalwart, De Lille said: “They were the same critics who did not say anything against the struggle of apartheid. Who are they to criticise our mother?”
Another lesson De Lille learnt from Madikizela-Mandela was that politics knew no political boundaries.
During the time former president Thabo Mbeki did not believe in anti-retrovirals (ARVs), she and Madikizela-Mandela marched to demand ARVs, she said.
“I said to president Mbeki: ‘Why are ARVs not toxic for the members in Parliament who are taking them but toxic for the poor?’”
She added that Madikizela-Mandela was not only the Mother of the Nation, she was also the flower of the nation.
“Hamba kahle (go well) my sister, hamba kahle our Mother of the Nation. Hamba kahle flower of the nation. You know, she was tough but she would cry with us.
“Mama, you might have made mistakes, but… you understood the struggles of our people…
“We must never forget what Mama Winnie did for us and the sacrifices she made for us.”
“You must be prepared to die. If you are not prepared to die, then you are not a revolutionary.”
He said, since the formation of the EFF, it was the first time that the party had shared the stage with the ANC. He said the reason why other parties had been invited was because Madikizela-Mandela was bigger than one organisation.
ANC NEC member Siyabonga Cwele said, while the country and the world mourned the death of Madikizela-Mandela, the country should also celebrate her life.
“Indeed, the Mother of our Nation has fallen. In isiZulu, we say umuthi ebesikhusele kuwo uwile [The tree under which we took refuge, has fallen].”
He said during the darkest hour of our history, Madikizela-Mandela inspired the poor.
“But this hero of our struggle was a servant of the people. She dedicated her life for the betterment of all South Africans.” — AFP