Panafrican News Agency

Ramaphosa visits Madikizela-Mandela's Soweto home

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday visited the Soweto home of liberation hero Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who died earlier in the day.

Addressing the nation, Ramaphosa expressed “a profound sense of loss and deep sadness” about Madikizela-Mandela’s death.

“Even at the darkest moments of our struggle for liberation, she was an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free. In the midst of repression, she was a voice of defiance and resistance. In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality,” he said.

He noted that for many years she bore the brunt of the senseless brutality of the apartheid state with stoicism and fortitude.

“Despite the hardships she faced, she never doubted that the struggle for freedom and democracy would succeed. She remained throughout her life a tireless advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalised. She was a voice for the voiceless,” he added.

Madikizela-Mandela’s death at a Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital was confirmed by her personal assistant, Zodwa Zwane. Madikizela-Mandela who suffered from diabetes and recently underwent several major surgeries had been in poor health for several months.

In 1958, Madikizela-Mandela married anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. They remained married for 38 years and had two children together. In 1963, Mandela was imprisoned following the Rivonia Trial; where she became his public face during the 27 years he spent in jail.

During that period, she rose to prominence in the anti-apartheid movement. She was arrested and detained by state security services on various occasions and spent several months in solitary confinement.

Nelson Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990, and the couple separated in 1992 but remained officially married until their divorce was finalised in March 1996. The couple remained in contact, and she visited him regularly before he died.
-0- PANA CU/AR 2April2018