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Written by Premier Sefora Ntombela: Today, I join the rest of South Africa in wishing a happy heavenly birthday to the mother of our country, the late Comrade Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela Mandela.

Even in death, Comrade Winnie still serves as an inspiration to many of us who looked up to her.

Comrade Winnie was a personification of the strength of the oppressed black woman. Cruelly separated from her family and friends, and banished to Brandfort in our province of the Free State, Comrade Winnie would be reborn.

While the intention of the apartheid government was to demoralize her by banishing her hundreds of kilometers away from her family, where she did not even understand the language spoken by the locals, this act of unimaginable cruelty stoked the fire that would later engulf the rest of the country.

Inspired by her courage, liberation movements across the country, with the African National Congress at the forefront, intensified the struggle. Because of her courage, the apartheid regime began to show cracks

Winnie Mandela demonstrated that, despite what society will have us believe, women are equally, if not more, capable to lead. Although married to the face of our struggle, Nelson Mandela, Comrade Winnie demonstrated that she was a strong capable leader in her own right.

The ANC, that Comrade Winnie loyally served until she took her last breath, has, since its formation, advocated for the emancipation of women. Sadly, some, even within our own movement, have not been supportive of this view.

However, Comrade Winnie’s tenacity, courage and determination encouraged, and continues to inspire us that, we too can lead.

Comrade Winnie fought battles that would have left many of us without hope. However when this beautiful black woman heroically stood up to the bully that was apartheid, we felt inspired.

So when Winnie Mandela ceased to live on 2nd April 2018, and her mortal remains lowered inside a gaping grave, she continued living through all of us: women who refuse to cower before patriarchal men.

In death, Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela Mandela was reborn. Not even death can stop Comrade Winnie’s ideals.

Indeed, Winnie Mandela did not die, she multiplied. Lastly, let me once again remind female leaders that, ‘Women who do not move, do not realize their political chains.’

Happy birthday our beloved leader.

Sefora Ntombela is the Free State Premier and the Provincial Deputy Convenor of the ANC. She writes in her personal capacity.

Free State Premier Sisi Sefora Ntombela
Free State Premier Sisi Sefora Ntombela


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