The Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, MP and her department are saddened and shocked by the passing of Mrs Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela.
On behalf of the Department of Women, and the women of South Africa I would like to salute Mama Madikizela-Mandela for her unrivalled role and life-long dedication to the struggle against apartheid, and the eradication of gender discrimination and patriarchy, borne out of the unimpeachable reality that the liberation of her people was inextricably bound to the emancipation of its women.
The establishment of the Department of Women, the Commission for Gender Equality amongst others, and the rights that women in South Africa and other parts of the world enjoy, can be directly linked to the heroic fight and sacrifices of iconic figures like Madikizela- Mandela.
It is no coincidence that today, notwithstanding our challenges in the arena of gender equality, South African has a notable number of women who have leveraged on the legacy of Madikizela-Mandela by assuming leadership positions in academia, politics, commerce, government, industry, civil society and many other key sectors of our society.
Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid. She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country and her people. She became the face and symbol of the liberation struggle against the triple oppression that the women of her generation fought against.
At the height of the oppressive apartheid regime, she kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces. She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people and for this was known far and wide as the Mother of the Nation.
The Minister finds it remarkable that Madikizela-Mandela’s passing coincides with the year South Africa is celebrating the Centenary of another gallant fighter in the struggle against apartheid and the rights of women, Albertina Sisulu, who played a pivotal role in the political career of Madikizela-Mandela.
This year also marks the Centenary of President Nelson Mandela.
I would to urge all the South African women irrespective of their political affiliation to celebrate Madikizela-Mandela’s legacy by taking up the baton and continue the fight against gender based discrimination, rape, patriarchy and gender based violence.
Source: Government of South Africa