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What made Ma Winnie great

10 April 2018, 14:53

"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything." - Malcolm X

On Mondli Makhanya's column on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela:

In warning us about not falling into a trap of emulating or trying to be Winnie, the author misses the point or intentionally misses the whole point about what made Winnie... or even Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela or Robert Sobukwe.

The author further rubs it in on the "star struck" masses by presenting or painting Winnie as "damaged goods" after having been banished to Brandfort… kudos to Verwoerd; this can only mean the machinery had managed to break her spirit. This has either the unintended or intended consequence of diminishing the role that Winnie and other "damaged goods" played post Brandfort or even giving us the idea that what happened after the Rivonia trial was inconsequential.

What Mondli misses and what most of the cringing school of "clever blacks" misses is that the war against the brutal regime was fought on many frontiers. Winnie, like many of the "damaged goods" that eulogises her, were at the coalface of the struggle, a frontier fraught with fear, paranoia and violence.

In saying that Winnie returned as "damaged goods” the author, wittingly or unwittingly, diminishes the role that Winnie and others played in the cause of that resistance. 

In as much as the resistance or even the offensive was about "skipping the border" much of the struggle was about defence and defiance. Winnie was without a doubt the face of that struggle.

The article seeks to depict Winnie as a psychological wreck or, even worse, a leper to dissociate with.

The main unintended consequence of the piece is that it unravels the "clever blacks".

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