7 months ago

BusinessDay 09 Apr 2018


12 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Monday 09 April 2018 Editorial PUBLISHER/CEO Frank Aigbogun EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Prof. Onwuchekwa Jemie EDITOR Anthony Osae-Brown DEPUTY EDITORS John Osadolor, Abuja Bill Okonedo NEWS EDITOR Patrick Atuanya EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING Kola Garuba EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OPERATIONS Fabian Akagha EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL SERVICES Oghenevwoke Ighure ADVERT MANAGER Adeola Ajewole MANAGER, SYSTEMS & CONTROL Emeka Ifeanyi HEAD OF SALES, CONFERENCES Rerhe Idonije SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Patrick Ijegbai CIRCULATION MANAGER John Okpaire GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (North) Bashir Ibrahim Hassan GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (South) Ignatius Chukwu HEAD, HUMAN RESOURCES Adeola Obisesan Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936 – 2018) Winnifred Madikizela-Mandela, foremost and controversial anti-apartheid activist, mother of the nation, and former wife of South Africa’s late president, Nelson Mandela, passed away quietly in a Johannesburg hospital on Easter Monday after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since January, aged 81. “Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela was 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,” a statement by her family read. Born and raised in the village of Mbongweni in Pondoland, Eastern Cape and trained as a social worker, her life took a different trajectory with her marriage to Nelson Mandela in 1958. Just six years into the marriage that produced two children, Mandela was convicted of treason in June 1964 and, together with 10 of his comrades, sentenced to life imprisonment in Robben Island. She was therefore left with the task of keeping the memory of her imprisoned husband alive and helped give the struggle for Justice in South Africa one of its most recognisable faces, earning her the sobriquet “Mother of the Nation.” Her commitment to the struggle soon landed her in trouble with the apartheid regime. She was variously exiled, imprisoned, and tortured by the apartheid regime and endured all sorts of indignities including the razing of her home that left her and her children at the mercy of the elements. Her brutalisation reached a head when she kept in solitary confinement for up to 18 months in dehumanising condition. It was at that point she became convinced that the struggle against apartheid could never be won through peaceful means and had to embrace violence. “We have no guns. We have only stones, boxes of matches, and petrol. Together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country,” she declared at a town hall meeting in Munsieville. That was the point of departure with her imprisoned husband, who she later complained had been softened by his long stay in prison and the high command of the African National Congress, ANC. But the disagreement with her was not entirely ideological but also based on her gender. The ANC could not conceive of her as a political figure in her own right outside the traditional roles of wife and mother. But she was astute enough to embrace those roles and use her position as the wife of political leader to fashion a platform for her own brand of radicalism, which neither the ANC nor her husband could contain leading to her marginalisation from the powerful decision making structures of the party. Although she belonged to the generation of South Africans that literally gave up everything and most of their adult lives to fight to liberate black people from the yoke of white minority rule, she paid direly for stepping outside the agreed parameters of the official party line and charting her own. They were all brutalised and their lives broken irretrievably by the struggle. They made mistakes in their personal lives. But unlike her male counterparts, her personal life and choices were always under spotlight and she was judged harshly for them. Despite her foibles, Madikizela-Mendala was a symbol of courage in dark times; a champion of freedom and human dignity. Fearless in the face of torture, imprisonment, banishment and betrayal, she was firm in her belief that apartheid could be brought down. The struggle definitely left its toll on her life and family. She will go down in history as one of the great African women of all times. 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Monday 09 April 2018 C002D5556 BUSINESS DAY 13

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