'Continue the revolution for Winnie'

Mandla Mandela says a rose has been plucked from our garden of heroes

Continue the revolution for Winnie - Mandla Mandela and Naledi Pandor

10 April 2018

Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's life must be a rallying point for the continuation of the struggle for economic emancipation.

This was the message delivered by ANC MP Mandla Mandela, who addressed attendees at a memorial service for the struggle icon at OR Tambo Community Hall in Khayelitsha, Cape Town on Monday evening.

He was in a poetic mood as a picture of his grandfather, Madikizela-Mandela's former husband Nelson Mandela, towered over him.

"A rose has been plucked from our garden of heroes," he started.

He described the woman he grew up to call "Big Mommy", as a "shining star", an "immovable mountain" and a "mother for generations of freedom fighters".

He added that her resistance in the face of apartheid's atrocities would always be remembered.

"Despite their best efforts, they could not stop her," he said. "Not even years of banishment to Brandfort could silence her. They tried everything, I mean, everything."

"Our struggle is far from over," he said.

"It is our collective duty to stand for the poor, the voiceless, the landless."

"We shall not rest before the prophetic words of the Freedom Charter are fulfilled: 'that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white'."

Minister of Higher Education and ANC NEC member Naledi Pandor had a similar message.

According the Pandor, Madikizela-Mandela would have said: "Don't mourn me by memorials, mourn me with action."

"Our work is not done," she added.

She said Madikizela-Mandela would have wanted them to carry out "the rest of the revolution".

"Let us work to eradicate poverty. Let us work to destroy inequality," she said.

"Comrade Winnie will haunt us if we don't win [the] 2019 elections with an overwhelming majority."

To this end, she called on unity in the party in the Western Cape and "rooting out evil practices that has become dominant in our organisation".

Although Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete had a prepared speech, she rather chose to speak from the heart.

She said that there was a lot that Madikizela-Mandela could have contributed to Parliament, but that her health did not allow it.

"It is not because she was lazy that she did not come to Parliament," she said.

Mbete said it was only her love for the ANC that "made her come shuffling into the hall" at the ANC's conference in Nasrec in December.

Mbete also railed against criticisms levelled at Madikizela-Mandela after her death.

"I think it is very un-African," Mbete said. "The mistakes of a person don't matter when a person has died."

"There is so much Winnie Madikizela-Mandela did for this country."

She said much of the criticism was based on lies.

"There is no evidence of uMama Winnie killing anybody," Mbete said. She said Madikizela-Mandela's inner circle was "infiltrated" and the "enemy created chaos around her".

With perhaps a hint of disdain in her voice, Mbete referred to "those EFF boys", with whom she he has had regular battles in Parliament.

"But as a mother, she continued to treat them (the EFF leadership) as her children," Mbete said.