Madikizela-Mandela led fearlessly while others danced in exile – Lungisa

2018-04-04 19:58
Andile Lungisa. (File, Derrick Spies, News24)

Andile Lungisa. (File, Derrick Spies, News24)

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Controversial Eastern Cape ANC member Andile Lungisa has hit out at former president Thabo Mbeki, saying he should have known better and kept his criticism of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to himself.

Lungisa was at the struggle icon's Soweto home on Wednesday to pay his respects. The veteran leader died on Monday at the age of 81 following a long illness.

In an interview with public broadcaster SABC, Mbeki said that some of the decisions and comments that Madikizela-Mandela had made during her decades-long activism in the struggle against apartheid were wrong.

He also took issue with the controversial Mandela United Football Club that was linked to the stalwart, saying it had tainted her legacy.

Jerry Richardson, a coach at the Mandela United Football Club, was jailed for the murder of teenager Stompie Seipei. His body was found on a waste ground near Madikizela-Mandela's home. Madikizela-Mandela was convicted of Seipei's kidnapping. That six-year sentence was later reduced to a fine and a two-year suspended sentence on appeal.

Madikizela-Mandela in an interview last year with HuffPostSA denied her involvement with Seipei's murder.  

Mbeki also cautioned against celebrating Madikizela-Mandela as an individual, saying it was a collective effort that had led to the country's liberation.

'You say only good things'

"Mama was a hero, a person who was a fearless fighter who was at the forefront when others were dancing in exile," said Lungisa, taking a swipe at the former president without mentioning his name.

The Nelson Mandela Bay councillor and former ANC Youth League leader said he was disturbed by some of Mbeki's utterances.

"She kept this country together. The revolution at its highest stage, when it reached what we called the equilibrium, it was because of the courage and resilience shown by mama," he said to News24.

"She was not a coward, she was fearless and the freedom which we enjoy today is because of what she did," added Lungisa.

"People know, especially those who understand Xhosa culture, that Mbeki as a grandfather, that when someone passes away you pay [your respects]. You say only good things about that person," said Lungisa.

He called Mbeki's interview unfortunate and said as a former leader of both the ANC and the country Mbeki should have known better.

'She led both women and men'

"Several parts, most of us were not happy with. We focus on the good and mourn," said Lungisa.

Dismissing Madikizela-Mandela's critics, he said he was not worried about those "championing the interests of the neo-colonial agenda".

The ANC's national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, chastised those he said only saw Madikizela-Mandela as a female leader. Speaking briefly to the media outside her home, he said reducing Madikizela-Mandela "to only being a woman leader" was not representative of the global icon.

"She is an overall leader. She led both women and men," said Mantashe.

Read more on:    winnie madikizela-mandela  |  thabo mbeki  |  andile lungisa

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