The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation extends its condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who passed away this afternoon.
“It is with sadness that we received the news of Comrade Winnie’s passing after a period of illness that saw her in and out of hospital,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton.
“We wish her family and friends strength during this trying time and trust that they will bear this difficult period with courage,” Balton said.
“News of her passing comes just a few days after the one year death anniversary of Ahmed Kathrada, and a few months after the passing of Laloo Chiba and Eddie Daniels. It deepens the sense of realisation that with their passing, we lose not only liberation activists, but sources of history that cannot be replaced,” he stated.
“Comrade Winnie and Ahmed Kathrada shared a strong sense of camaraderie and friendship that extended from before Kathrada’s imprisonment, when he became close to both the Sisulu and Mandela families,” said the Foundation’s Chairperson, Derek Hanekom.
“For the broader South African public, Comrade Winnie became an iconic symbol against apartheid, and especially so at a time when the ANC and other liberation organisations were almost crushed. Her militancy, courage and defiance kept the struggle against apartheid alive.
“In particular, she came to represent the struggle of black women against a system that saw them bearing the burden of a repressive regime.
“She inspired not only activists of her own generation, but those that succeeded her as well,” Hanekom added.
“Like with other iconic figures who contributed to our liberation struggle, the totality of her history and legacy will have to be reflected upon over time.”