Last night I was humbled and privileged to be amongst powerful women of Africa at The Nelson Mandela Foundation for a live discussion on the legacy of Mam’Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Much has been said about her over the last few days, as people have debated about the life and times of this fearless lioness of Africa.
Those who have watched the award-winning documentary “Winnie”, by Pascale Lamche, have been left absolutely gob smacked. All of a sudden, former apartheid spies and intelligence operatives have been coming out the woodwork and making confessions about the extent to which, not only the apartheid government, but some of our own leaders, went to extreme lengths to tarnish and destroy the mother of the nation because of the threat that she posed to a patriarchal society.
Why was the lie allowed to continue for so long?
With struggle leaders underground, in exile or prison, where would we be today without the likes of Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela? Who would have remembered and recognized Madiba without Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela? It is an indictment on a patriarchal society that has continuously used and abused women to further the careers and aspirations of men, only to toss Winnie Mandela’s aside once the summit has been reached.
I feel betrayed.
Betrayed by mainstream media. Betrayed by an inaccurate history that was clearly recorded from the view point of men and apartheid machinery. Betrayed by those who failed to speak up and set the record straight while Mum Winnie was alive.
As I sat in a room filled with powerful women of Africa, I realized that it is time for us, men, to stop paying lip service to the ill treatment of women and children and recognize that we are part of the problem and therefore need to be part of the solution.
For as long as our history is distorted, as is the case with Mum Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, we remain a deeply wounded nation. For as long as we are not writing our own stories and standing by our own truth, we will remain a deeply wounded nation. For as long as we listen to those who were not dragged away kicking and screaming from their traumatized children in the middle of the night, we remain deeply wounded.
491 days in solitary confinement, we remain so deeply wounded.
Given what we know now, I wonder how many blows did Mum Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have to suffer over the decades for our liberation? Let me be clear; I’m not just talking about physical blows. How many BLOWS did she have to endure for us to appreciate the very heavy price that she paid for me and you?