Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, breathed her last aged 81. She was one of the revolutionary leaders of South Africa’s liberation struggle who kept alive the flame of her husband’s resistance to apartheid for much of the time he was in jail.
The circumstances under which she operated were challenging. They were filled with pain, bitterness, betrayal, violence, exploitative economic relationships, shootings, and imprisonments. While these circumstances crush some and dampen their spirits, she used the feminine utu to navigate around them and agitate for an inclusive society.
Her life no doubt is a book filled with positives and negatives that we can learn from. We should emulate the positives such as clearly articulating our concerns and upholding justice. We should also learn from the negatives by re-evaluating our interventions so that they don’t end up hurting the very people they intend to help. Controversial as her life may be, Africa must learn to immortalize its heroes and heroines.