Love her or hate her, Winnie blazed a trail in the name of liberation

Mama Winnie celebrating her 80th birthday at Planet restaurant in Cape Town on September 14 2016.
Mama Winnie celebrating her 80th birthday at Planet restaurant in Cape Town on September 14 2016.
Image: David Harrison

Had the news of her passing been broken on April 1, well-wishers would have dismissed reports as a sick joke.

Anything reported on April Fool's Day is either taken with a pinch of salt or generally dismissed as a stranger to the truth.

The news came on April 2 - just a day after the people of faith had leapt with joy to raise the name of one who had conquered the grave three days after crucifixion.

The joy of resurrection was tempered by news of the passing of the irrepressible, irreplaceable and adorable fighting liberation servant and an icon that spoke truth to power.

Her demise marked the end of a tumultuous era that had shaken people, near and far, in the span of 81 years since her birth on 26 September 1936.

Her name was Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela- Mandela.

This was no person for and against whom emotions could be private. With Nomzamo, emotions are incapable of being suppressed. You either loved or hated her.

Against warring emotions, not only does her legacy speak for itself, but still fights relentlessly. Those with a bone to chew, be warned that there are signs galore that she will still be fighting from the grave.

There has been none as battle-tested, as resilient, as daring to overwhelming odds and courageous as she in defence of her name, dignity and children.

There has been none as forthright to adversaries, calling for the keeping of a safe distance from her, while remaining rooted, against treacherous winds, to face it all, being a fighting woman warrior the nation has again claimed as its mother.

Truly, a great tree has fallen but this was not the kind that basked in the glory of others. This was a tree most capable to cast its own shade. Not that this means Madikizela-Mandela was all good. She was no angel.

If, however, she were to be judged a devil, then she must have been in the good company of many trusting hearts to go to hell for a heavenly cause, to extinguish the flames and to declare to godless fire-stoking dwellers that it is time up.

For what good would angels be if they feared a war against a hellish existence for which Madikizela-Mandela had proven to be a sterling fighter?

Why, then, did the world hold such a dim view of her?

The so-called "world" has the rude habit of prescribing a future for candidate countries and it imposes a script featuring stars acting out roles consistent with propping up its sphere of influence-bolstering preferred outcomes.

Madikizela-Mandela wrote her script, featuring herself as a star the world did not prefer to shine on its skies.

To the world's surprise, Madikizela-Mandela kept shining, keeping faith and hope alive and never stopped, even once, walking tall, independent of its parachuting agendas.

Madikizela-Mandela erred on the side of liberation rather than against it.

*Ngwenya is a freelance writer and corporate strategist.

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