She stepped on the turbulent stage of African and human history with a concentrated and consuming fire against the oppressor and life-giving water for the people. No, she was not one to ask permission to live free in her own land, or to exercise freely the rights she had by birth and by just being human. Nor did she engage the enemies of African and human freedom as a summer soldier, but came to the battlefield with a deep-rooted defiance and determination and vowed not to walk away until the war of liberation was won. A freedom fighter of fire and water and an all-seasons soldier, she laid down in life and rose up in radiance in the heavens, April 2, 2018 and now sits in the sacred circle of the ancestors.
We speak here of Nomzamo Winnie Zanyiwe Madikizela Mandela (September 26, 1936), daughter of Columbus Madikizela and Nomathasanga Gertrude Mzaidume Madikizela; mother of Zenani Mandela-Dlamini and Zindziwe Mandela; former wife and continuing companion in love and struggle of Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela; Mother of the Nation; and freedom fighter of the liberation movement that called her into being and created the context and challenges to make her into what she would become.
It is the beauty and boldness of her name that predicts and promises what she would become and be, defiantly do and audaciously dare. Her name, as she lived it, is Nomzamo, she who strives and struggles, she who goes through trials and comes forth triumphant; resilient and ever-resisting one. It is she who stood up in the apartheid caves called courts and refused to be referred to as a number. "My name is Nomzamo Winnie Madizikela Mandela I would like to be addressed as such", she defiantly demanded.
Let us remember her well with Izibongo, praise songs, reflection and righteous and relentless resistance; she who left us an uplifting abundance of inspiring and instructive lessons of life and struggle. We speak of one who refused to be defeated by the savagery of apartheid and White supremacy masquerading as civilization.
They burned down her house and she built countless others in the hearts and minds of the people that they could not burn or bulldoze down. They arrested her repeatedly, tortured and brutalized her, but she was not frightened or defeated by the winter wolves that surrounded her, tearing at her will and flesh with torture, beatings and threats of a horrible death. She said, "There is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn't any pain I...