'SA poorer without her' - SACP reacts to Madikizela-Mandela's death

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Themba Hadebe, AP)
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Themba Hadebe, AP)

The South African Communist Party (SACP) says it is deeply worried "that the South African revolution is losing the veterans who contributed immensely to our struggle against colonial oppression".

The party was reacting the news that Madikizela-Mandela had died on Monday after a long illness, at the age of 81.

In a statement, the SACP hailed Madikizela-Mandela as a stalwart of the struggle for liberation, a resolute gender transformation activist and national democratic revolutionary. 

"Her departure from the world of the living has left South Africa poorer without her," the SACP said.

"In memory of Comrade Winnie, the African National Congress, the SACP and the whole of South Africa’s liberation movement, as well as the government should document the institutional memory that South Africa would lose without a detailed historical account of the contribution and sacrifices made by each one of our veterans to the course of freedom.

"This is extremely important, both for young people and our future generations. An accurate account of where our society comes from is crucial to our national vision for a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa based on social emancipation."

The SACP said the contribution that Madikizela-Mandela made to the South African revolution could produce volumes of history, humanities and social science books. 

READ: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's life in dates

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) echoed a similar sentiment.

In statement on Monday, it said that the federation was lowering its flags in honour of Madikizela-Mandela, who it described as one of the great revolutionary icons of the struggle for freedom and democracy.

"Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela-Mandela was a tireless fighter against apartheid. Although thrust into the spotlight, partly as a result of her 38-year marriage to Nelson Mandela, she was always a struggle leader in her own right, who fearlessly confronted the apartheid regime.

"She was a woman revolutionary, who was never prepared to be just Nelson’s wife, but a fearless fighter, moulded in the struggle against apartheid and a role model for women today. She will always be an inspiration for future generations of women revolutionaries."

Saftu said Madikizela-Mandela "was no angel, just like everyone else, but she will always have a very special place in the hearts of millions. We love you mama!"

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