Reflections on the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

In the beginning of this month, I was called to the bedside of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and I had the privilege to be with her when she passed away.

Much of my time this month was spent with Winnie’s family, offering emotional support, doing press interviews and being involved with the funeral arrangements.  But now that a few weeks have passed, I have had some time to reflect on a life of a woman who has contributed much to the Freedom Day, which we celebrate tomorrow.

A lot has been said in the media about Winnie’s legacy.  But as I have journeyed with Winnie for many years, I want to personally testify to her commitment as a leader –  both to her church and to this country – as well as her personal dedication to her Christian faith.

Winnie endured extreme hardships and devastating brutality, but her ability to overcome these struggles made her one of the strongest people I have known. She made many personal sacrifices for the freedom, equality and liberation of others – both during Apartheid and in a democratic South Africa.  And her entire life is proof of her determination to fight against all odds.

This is what I will remember Winnie for.

As her family, friends and loved ones grieve their loss, I ask all South Africans to remember and celebrate all the good Winnie Madikizela-Mandela did for this nation, and for society at large, in her 81 years.  Her triumphs, born out of her struggles, are worth remembering.

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