Winnie was the bravest of the brave. She carried her defiance with quiet dignity. She did not wait for others, nor did she need the courage of numbers. The fight against the apartheid regime was not for the faint-hearted. They were devious, wicked and callous.
Winnie was one of the few who no doubt knew the liberating effect of being reborn out of the fear of death, and being truly prepared to fearlessly live and die for a cause.
Her lonely strength finally won the admiration of those who had been cowed, to wake up to their roles in those dangerous days. The infectious courage of her conviction led to her being effectively isolated for years. And even as the spirit of liberation was becoming more and more evident, the intensity of her courage, defiance and outspokenness still kept her a lonely figure. Understandably, she had little tolerance for weak opportunists.
Winnie’s fearlessness and absolute candour elevated her well above most of us. You cannot possibly go through what Winnie went through alone and still continue to trust and respect others as you do your very own self Finding people of a similar nature is rare and can only come from those who would have suffered the same fate.
So much is owed to Winnie. Sadly a good number of those who benefitted the most from her pain and struggle did not see their way clear and early enough to give her what was her due.
Let us make the effort to understand and acknowledge her superiority. Nothing pleases us more than to know that she and Mandela restored their spiritual bond, respect and admiration known to only those who dared to walk the plank.
Winnie and Mandela gave each other what we couldn’t give them – the richness and tranquility of their love; the spiritual peace and sanctity of their reunion in those final months and moments.
On behalf of Nana, Zanetor, Asantewaa, Amina and Kimathi, I express our sincere condolences to the family, friends and all who in diverse ways were partners in the painful struggle for freedom.
Fare thee well Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. God be with you.