Parliament’s Tribute to Mother of Our Nation Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at St George’s Cathedral Memorial Service

Parliament� Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mr Lechesa Tsenoli, on behalf of Parliament, joined hundreds of people who packed St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town last night to pay homage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Congratulating the Very Reverend Michael Weeder, Dean of St George’s Cathedral, for continuing the great tradition of using this public space for affairs of the nation, Mr Tsenoli described Ms Madikizela-Mandela as a pioneer parliamentarian of democratic South Africa and a liberation heroine who had stood four-square with the poor and working class. Her dedication, commitment and loyalty to the struggle inspired especially – but not exclusively – women across the African continent and in the world.

She has passed on as we approach, in a matter of weeks, our 24th anniversary as a free country. While great progress has been made in achieving a better life for the majority of people, still the levels of poverty inequality and unemployment remains unacceptably high, Mr Tsenoli reflected.

He added: While loyal, she never spared her own government � correctly so � from criticism about failures to deal effectively with these problems. She saw no contradiction in being loyal and being critical to the movement. She often exemplified the correct, practical, taking of steps not only to help people but to agitate them, too, to be organised and take action themselves.

Reflecting on the attempts to break her both in her own right as a revolutionary and as a wife to another, the apartheid state failed, Mr Tsenoli said. Her banishment to Brandfort in the Free State simply challenged her and the movement to be creative in staying in touch, receiving briefings, herself providing leadership and being helpful in her neighborhood. Her underground work while there was a huge middle finger to the oppressors.

Her life demonstrated the view that the private is public and the personal is political.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa