An artist’s tribute to Ma Winnie

Silindile Sihlangu, a local artist paid tribute to Winnie Madikizela Mandela through his art.PHOTO: velani ludidi
Silindile Sihlangu, a local artist paid tribute to Winnie Madikizela Mandela through his art.PHOTO: velani ludidi

Nomzamo resident Silindile Sihlangu has honoured the memory of late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela by drawing her image.

Sihlangu, an artist who’s only too aware that the area he lives in was named after the “Mother of the Nation”, says he found it only fitting that a portrait of the struggle icon be drawn.

“It would have been unfortunate if no artist from around here did nothing to honour her,” he said.

Sihlangu told City Vision his charcoal drawing had taken three days, and contained two images of Madikizela-Mandela – when young, before joining the struggle, and in old age.

He said: “She showed women they too can fight if they put their minds to it. She also showed that being married doesn’t mean one must be in the shadow of one’s husband.”

The area was named the day before the first democratic elections, on 27 April 1994 after forced removals from Waterkloof. Nosethu Madlolo (59) still remembers the day she and others were moved.

“We were forced to leave our belongings behind and come here onto open space,” she recalled. “There were only toilets and concrete basins.” Madlolo said people were promised houses, which were built only later, in 1998.

“It was supposed to be bigger houses, but we got single rooms,” she said. “Others were forced to build shacks and are still living in them to this day.”

Local councillor Simthembile Mfecane feels the area does not represent what Madikizela-Mandela fought for.

“The government hasn’t done enough to develop the area named after the struggle icon,” he said. “A lot still needs to be done to eradicate poverty in the area.”

“Art is an expression, and not just a portrait of someone,” says Sihlangu.

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