Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, has urged South African women to celebrate Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s legacy by taking up the baton and continuing the fight against gender-based discrimination, rape, patriarchy and gender-based violence.
Minister Dlamini saluted the late freedom fighter for her unrivalled role and life-long dedication to the struggle against apartheid and the eradication of gender discrimination and patriarchy, borne out of the reality that the liberation of her people was inextricably bound to the emancipation of its women.
“The establishment of the Department of Women, the Commission for Gender Equality amongst others, and the rights that women in South Africa and other parts of the world enjoy, can be directly linked to the heroic fight and sacrifices of iconic figures like Madikizela- Mandela.
“It is no coincidence that today, notwithstanding our challenges in the arena of gender equality, South Africa has a notable number of women who have leveraged on the legacy of Madikizela-Mandela by assuming leadership positions in academia, politics, commerce, government, industry, civil society and many other key sectors of our society,” Minister Dlamini said.
Madikizela-Mandela passed away on Monday at Netcare Milpark Hospital, in Johannesburg, at the age of 81, after a long illness.
An icon of the struggle
Minister Dlamini described Madikizela-Mandela as one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid.
“She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country and her people. She became the face and symbol of the liberation struggle against the triple oppression that the women of her generation fought against.
“At the height of the oppressive apartheid regime, she kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one it’s most recognisable faces.
“She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people and for this was known far and wide as the Mother of the Nation,” the Minister said.
The Minister said it was remarkable that Madikizela-Mandela’s passing coincides with the year South Africa is celebrating the centenary of another gallant fighter in the struggle against apartheid and the rights of women – Albertina Sisulu.
Sisulu played a pivotal role in the political career of Madikizela-Mandela.
This year also marks the Centenary of President Nelson Mandela.
Madikizela-Mandela will be laid to rest on 14 April 2018 during a state funeral.
This article was originally published on SANews.gov.za