Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament have described South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela Mandela as a fighter for justice and equality who played a big role in ending racial descrimination and restoring democracy.
This was during a debate on a motion to pay tribute to the the former wife of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela for her dedicated service in the fight for justice and equality.
Winnie Mandela, 81, died on April 2nd in Johannesburg. She had been reported unwell since 2017 and had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year.
The motion was moved by the Minister in Charge of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mary Karooro Okurut. She said that Winnie Mandela will be remembered for her great contribution for the development of South Africa and the world at large.
The Deputy Opposition Chief Whip Roland Mugume Kaginda said that all marital challenges, imprisonment, and other forms of threats did not deter Winnie Mandela from standing for an apartheid-free South Africa.
Lira Municipality MP Jimmy Akena said it was impossible for him to honour Winnie Mandela in the few minutes provided but described her as the face for the African National Congress (ANC) which championed the anti-apartheid fight.
.@RebeccaKadaga was accompanied by several MPs to the South African High Commission to pay respects to the late #WinnieMandela. The Speaker praised the late for her courage and resilience during the apartheid era. pic.twitter.com/VCdQ4qpN1p
— Parliament of Uganda (@Parliament_Ug) April 12, 2018
He said that at the time Winnie Mandela became the face of the struggle; many leaders were in exile while others were in prison, including her husband and future president, Nelson Mandela.
Kumi Woman MP Monica Amoding said that despite all challenges in South Africa and the criticism Winnie Mandela received, she never stopped the fight for justice.
Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal said that it is a great honour that Winnie Mandela died after being recognised by the United Nations for the resilient work she did in ushering in freedom in South Africa.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga described Winnie Mandela as a bold and determined woman regardless of the intimidation from the oppression by the whites and played a big role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.
“It is said that a woman is like a teabag. You will not know how strong she is until she is in hot water.” said Speaker Kadaga.
Born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape in 1936‚ Winnie met a younger lawyer and anti-apartheid activist named Nelson Mandela in mid-1950s in Johannesburg, where she was studying as social worker. In 1958 the two got married and had two children together.
Their marriage, however, was anything but stable or settled and Mandela was in and out of jail for his anti-apartheid activities. Winnie would later say that she was married to Mandela who was also married to “the struggle.” In 1963, Mandela was arrested and a year later sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. He would spend the next 27 years in jail until his release in 1990.
Winnie Mandela was among the activists who kept the anti-apartheid struggle alive from the time her husband and other political activists were jailed in 1964 and remained incarcerated for nearly three decades. Mandela was among the last to be released in 1990, going on to win the first multi-racial elections in 1994. He and Winnie had, however, separated in 1992 and they officially divorced in 1996.
Mandela retired from the presidency in 1999 but remained active in public life for another decade until around 2010 when he admitted he needed to rest because of old age. He died in December 2013 aged 95.
Winnie will be laid to rest on Saturday.