Many years ago, while the beautiful country of South Africa was grappling with the Whites for the total flush of apartheid into the gutters of history, a cause which claimed the lives of countless South Africans as well as their freedom, many Africans have failed to come terms with this compelling story, especially as it involves the highest level of sacrifice the world have ever known. This inspiring story told across the globe saw the rise of a certain Nelson Madiba Rolihlahla Mandela, whom together with his team fought the slave masters to restore the dignity of South Africa. Like it’s said; “behind every successful man, there is a woman”; This is true of the story of Winnie Madikizela Mandela who despite severe tortures, fought alongside her husband to make South Africa great again. As we celebrate the passing on of Winnie Mandela, we x-ray five of her most powerful quotes that have defied odds and its significance to the great people of South Africa.
“I will not allow the selfless efforts of my husband and his friends to be abandoned. I will continue the struggle for a free and equal South Africa”.
In modern history, no sacrifices have been recorded that supersedes that of Nelson Mandela for the people of South Africa. Mandela was imprisoned four times between 1962 and 1990. He spent 27 golden years in prison and wasn’t ready to surrender to the demands of the slave masters. This cause claimed several lives and destruction of several properties due to widespread riots at the time. Madiba and his group didn’t settle for less and always maintained his stance on the equal rights of South Africans. Winnie in her place upheld the struggle. She was arrested and tortured severally but never lost hope or grew weary in her husband’s plight. Her fight has made South Africa the cynosure of all eyes in Africa and have given room for a balanced democratic system and several native South Africans as president.
“With our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country”.
One would be forced to think deeper again if there is another woman in this continent who was as brave as Winnie Mandela in her conquest for apartheid South Africa. She was most notable for this quote as it led to the killing of a certain James Seipei. Although, she was eventually cleared of all wrong doings and her 6 year jail term reduced to a fine. Her efforts have transformed South Africa forever and fights of the yesteryears have brought forth the glory which the country enjoys today.
“The years of imprisonment hardened me. Perhaps if you have been given a moment to hold back and wait for the next blow, your emotions wouldn’t be blunted as they have been in my case. When it happens every day of your life, when pain becomes a way of life, I no longer have the emotion of fear, there is no longer anything I can fear. There is nothing the government have not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known”.
After going through series of untold tortures both physically and emotionally, Winnie Mandela in a Facebook post dated April 7 2014, took time to reminisce about the hard fought victory that brought about the renaissance of today’s South Africa. This quote inspires the young South African generation not to settle for less and fight for what they believe in for the common good of the South African people. Today, leadership in South Africa is “business unusual” as the people have a huge say on governance in all its ramifications.
“The overwhelming majority of women accept patriarchy unquestioningly and even protect it working out the resultant frustrations not against men but primarily against themselves, in their competition for men as sons, lovers and husbands. Traditionally, the violated wife bides her time and offloads her built in aggression on her daughter in Law. So men dominate women through the agency of women themselves”.
Citing the huge role she played while fighting alongside her husband, Nelson Mandela, Winnie didn’t spare her words when she challenged women to disregard the grips of patriarchy in the society and fight without limitations. Here, she downplayed the excuses of the modern woman applying patriarchy as reasons behind their stunted growth. She intelligently navigates her words in such a way that women are psychologically nudged to realize that men are successfully dominating women, using women as a vehicle to carry out these acts. Invariably, women have been made conscious to realize their roles and shun limitations poised by patriarchy.
“I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy”
After her divorce from Nelson Mandela in 1996, Winnie further buttressed the extent of patriarchy in South Africa at the time, explaining it was the reason she didn’t drop Mandela’s surname. She had a stronghold of her beliefs and always made it clear that she wasn’t a product of her husband but a product of the South African masses; this statement preaches sacrifice and a strong willed character who won’t settle for less until the needful is done. Somehow, contemporary South Africans have adopted that approach to their political disposition and are on course to having the country of their dreams.