South Africa: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela turns 80

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela turned 80 on Monday with President Jacob Zuma saluting her.

Her former Vilakazi Street home in Soweto – the only street in the world which has housed two Nobel Laureates (Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu) – has been painted green and gold in the colours of the ruling African National Congress, which she has served most of her life.

Madikizela-Mandela celebrated the occasion on Sunday night with numerous well-wishers and her two children and several great-grandchildren.

President Jacob Zuma wished her well, saying: “You dedicated your adult life to the struggle for liberation and sacrificed life’s comforts, flying the flag for freedom and fighting repression, injustice and inequality valiantly and courageously.”

He said she raised her children single-handedly with Nelson Mandela in prison, facing banning, banishment, imprisonment and harassment by the security police.

“Your resilience and tenacity of spirit in the face of this most brutal onslaught on your person and family, including demonisation by the apartheid regime will always serve as a reminder especially to the young members of our nation, that the freedom that we enjoy today was not free,” said Zuma.

Winnie was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including 27 years during which he was imprisoned in Cape Town and on Robben Island. Although they were still married when he was elected President, the couple divorced in 1996.

Of all the major figures who came to global prominence during the South African liberation struggle, Madikizela-Mandela was seen as the most at home in the world of celebrity culture.

During her husband’s incarceration, she was his public face, bringing word of his thoughts and his state of mind. The South African Truth and Reconciliation commission found that she had personally been responsible for the murder, torture, abduction and assault of numerous men, women and children.
-0- PANA CU/MA 26Sept2016

26 سبتمبر 2016 10:46:25

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