Samp and friendship with my Winnie

2018-04-05 15:23
Georgina Nobusuku Masesi Mbanjane. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Georgina Nobusuku Masesi Mbanjane. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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In 1978, Georgina Nobusuku Masesi Mbanjane picked up a newspaper and read an article about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela being banished to Brandfort.

"I quit my job and went straight to her house," Mbanjane said.

At the time, she worked at the post office in Welkom, which was more than an hour away.

"I wanted to see this beautiful woman with my own eyes."

She said Madikizela-Mandela was surprised to hear someone at her gate. 

"She opened the door and asked: 'Are you not afraid of the police?'"

Mbanjane responded: "No, I do not care about the police. Open the gate."

'Kept at the police station' 

Mbanjane spoke to News24 outside what used to be Madikizela-Mandela's home.

She continued her story: "It was in June. When I walked in, [I was] asked again if I was not afraid of the police and I said no."

She said Zindzi and Zenani, the children which Madikizela-Mandela had with former president Nelson Mandela, had been sitting on boxes that contained their clothes.

"At the time, most of her belongings were kept at the police station."

Madikizela-Mandela was monitored by the security branch police who were stationed inside a tower on a "koppie" that overlooked the township.

Police knew every detail of the people who frequented her home.

Georgina Nobusuku Masesi Mbanjane is the first person to have visited Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's Brandfort home in 1978. She established a lifelong friendship with the late struggle icon. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

She said Madikizela-Mandela asked her to explain who she was and later, over a meal of samp, the two women started their friendship.

"She had cooked a big pot of samp. I ate and ate and ate. She told people that I was the first (guest) to enter her house."

Mbanjane said she has not stopped crying since she heard the news of Madikizela-Mandela's death on Monday afternoon. She said few people knew the real Madikizela-Mandela.

"When I think of Mamane...", she started, before her voice trailed off and she started to sob uncontrollably.

She could not afford to go the funeral to bid Madikizela-Mandela farewell, but added that "come hell or high water, even if I hike, even if I die", she would do whatever she could to get there.

This is the house the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela lived in when she was banished to Brandfort, Free State in 1977. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

The 56-year-old Brandfort resident recalled that life in the community was especially difficult during apartheid.

Her father sold umqombothi (traditional beer) and was often caught by security branch police. To punish the family, the police took their home and sold it to someone else.

Years later, she said Madikizela-Mandela asked former Free State premier Ace Magashule to build Mbanjane an RDP house - something which was arranged within two weeks of the request.

While she was happy in her new home, she said she was heartbroken by the state of the house in which Madikizela-Mandela once lived.

"They must fix it so that everyone can know that Mama Winnie lived there. Every time I pass the house, I cry because this is my mother's house. How can it be in this state?"

When News24 visited the house, it was in a deplorable state. There were cracks in the paint on the outside walls and a pungent smell of urine in one of the rooms.

 inside of Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s Brandfort h
This is the inside of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s home, which was meant to have been converted into a museum. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Mbanjane said the house was in a better state since a fence was put up. However, she said the house was used for "bad things" and added that it was a drug den, where women were raped.

READ: Winnie’s house is a sex den

Her hope was for the house to be turned into a museum as the provincial government previously promised.

"They must build this museum that they have been talking about for years so that our children and grandchildren can be taught that this is where we grew up. 

"They have been saying they are renovating, they are renovating, till today."

She said a high wall should be erected to protect the house.

"I want tourists to come and see the house. They had promised that there would be a mall that leads to the house. That too never happened".

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