‘Mother of the Nation’
Portait of a young Winnie Madikizela Mandela
Inextricably linked to her fight against the apartheid regime, Winnie Madikizela Mandela became a feminist icon – speaking out against the injustices faced by black women during apartheid, and the injustices that continue to this day.
Inspiring many young women in South Africa and across the globe, Madikizela Mandela – as a mother, wife and activist – became a powerful image of resistance during the struggle. Having endured decades of police intimidation and harassment, emotional brutalization, and physical imprisonment and banishment, Madikizela Mandela displayed an extraordinary capacity to remain motivated and audacious in the face of unjust segregationist laws.
Truly the ‘Mother of the Nation’, Madikizela Mandela’s imposing stature served – and her legacy will continue to serve – to make visible the invisible bodies the apartheid regime reduced blackness to.
This week, we celebrate Winnie Madikizela Mandela and her tireless work in fighting for our freedom, the rights of black women and her legacy, in the words of Graça Machel, “of brilliant wisdom, fierce defiance and stylish beauty”.
Rest peacefully, mama Madikizela Mandela.