They vilified her while she lived and now turn to praise her in her death. It is classic human hypocrisy: persecute in life and scatter roses in death. Zenani Mandela is, however, not having it. At the funeral service in Orlando Stadium, Zenani said, "Why have they sat on the truth, and waited until my mother's death to tell it? They robbed my mother of her rightful legacy during her lifetime." Will the family ever forget? No! Zenani said, ""Praising her now shows us what hypocrites you are! The pain inflicted on her lives on in us."
Winnie Mandela's great exploits made her a thorn in the flesh of the apartheid regime and the thorn had to be broken. The apartheid stole everything from Winnie Mandela, from family to personality. It makes no sense how a murderous regime which killed a lot of people felt it had the moral high ground to demonise Winnie Mandela, a crusader against the racist regime. This was a woman pushed into a corner. Here was a woman persecuted and Heidi Holland wrote in 100 Years of Struggle: Mandela’s ANC that Winnie was "perhaps driven half-mad by security police harassment". She had to be careful about informants, spies and traitors. She had been brutalised and had to stay on her guard. She was brutal to save herself from a brutal struggle and yet some dare judge her. She was thrown into the centre of a raging inferno so please forgive her for fighting fire with fire but not many of us would have done things differently. Arm-chair approaches are dangerously self-righteous and divorced from reality!
Zenani rightly told mourners, "The battle for our freedom wasn't some polite picnic to which you came armed with your best behaviour." Only those in jail could be well behaved. They came out with good reputations because they did not have to deal with all the difficulties the internally contradictory state of being free yet not liberated gave rise to. She was no demon! Apartheid was the demon and she fought it and conquered. No one should ever deflect and try to downplay the intensity of apartheid. Winnie was a victim.
Had Winnie remained influential, blacks could have had their land by now but look at the deal the peaceful brokers negotiated with the apartheid regime. The means of production are still safely in the hands of the minority. As Mama Madikizela Mandela herself said, "The economy is very much 'white'. It has a few token blacks, but so many who gave their life in the struggle have died unrewarded."
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said of the stalwart freedom fighter, "Her life's work of returning the land to the people is non-negotiable. It must happen. It will happen." Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's legacy can now only be honoured by radical economic transformation. Lip service after years of vilification will not cut it. Only real reforms can now honour the Mother of South Africa. Winnie Mandela should live on in every farm that is about to be given to a black man and even more so, a black woman. She should live on in every company a black woman will lead and in every black family that will move from a shack to a home representative of the negro's humanity. Winnie Madikizela Mandela will not be silenced, even beyond the grave. As Julius Malema said, "Queen Mothers do not die, they multiply into a million red flowers of love and freedom."