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South African Embassy opens condolence book on the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
April 8, 2018, 4:19 pm

On 2 April 2018, the South African and the international community received the sad news of the passing of the struggle stalwart and former Member of Parliament Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. She was among the great icons of the liberation struggle who sacrificed everything in the fight against the brutal apartheid state.

A Book of Condolences has been opened at the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in (Salwa, Block 10, Street 1, Villa 91, Gate Number 3) until Thursday, 12 April, from 11 am to 2 pm.

Due to her dedication to the people of South Africa during the darkest days of apartheid and her tenacity to create a society free from racial oppression and injustice, she was affectionately referred to as the 'Mother of the Nation'.

The sacrifice and tireless activism of Mama Winnie, and countless other South African and international partners and friends has helped to move South Africa from a repressive regime to a society built on the values of human rights, dignity and democracy. She is lauded and acknowledged in Africa and around the world for her contribution to the struggles of the oppressed.

Mama Winnie was born Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela on 26 September 1936 in the village of Mbongweni in Bizana in the former Transkei. She attended the Shawsbury High School where she matriculated with a first class pass. In 1953 she was admitted to the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work in Johannesburg and completed a Diploma in Social Work. Winnie Madikizela was offered the position of medical social worker at the Baragwanath Hospital making her the first qualified Black member of staff to fill that post. It was through her social work at the hospital that she was moved by the plight and living conditions of the black majority.

On 14 June 1958 Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela were married in Bizana. The early years were increasingly difficult for her as a young wife and mother who was intricately involved in the liberation struggle. Moreover, the frequent police raids at her home added further turbulence to her family life.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life went through irrevocable change when Nelson Mandela was arrested on 5 August 1961. She took it upon herself to keep the flames of resistance burning. Madikizela-Mandela kept the memory of Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped advance the struggle for justice in South Africa.

Her activism and resistance to apartheid landed her in jail on numerous occasions, eventually causing her banishment to the small town of Brandfort in the then Orange Free State for nine years.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared ten days of mourning and a Special Official Funeral. A memorial service will be held for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 11 April at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto and a funeral on 14 April at the Orlando Stadium.

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