Mam’ Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s Legacy Is Still A Site Of Struggle

South Africa, is a country that is inhibited by ghosts trying to find their homes and it is a country that knows no justice. History continues to socialise us to the space that it’s okay for Black women to keep dying and mama Nomzamo knows that Naledi Chirwa was right when she said “I am here to remind you that Black woman cannot breath”. ESIHLE LUPINDO looks at the South Africa Mam’ Winnie leaves behind and the power that has instilled in its Black women.

Men and patriarchy will vilify, violate, erase, and manipulate everything that Black women work towards if they disturb the fundamental functioning of patriarchy. Patriarchy as a system, and men as its beneficiaries and as the maintenance people of this system, will either act shocked or act violently when (Black) women remind it that they “cannot breath”.

Patriarchy and racism require hard work from the oppressed and silence to thrive. Mama Nomzamo was loud in a world that wanted silence and if she could not be silent by herself, then men and patriarchy would rip her tongue out to silence her but every attempt failed. Even in death she was loud, too loud. She is everything that patriarchy hates. Patriarchy refuses to be defeated and to be wrong, especially by a gentle warrior – a women. The only way to see their mission of erasure, through the plan to destroy (Black) women, is transmitted generationally. From the men in exile and the ANC leadership, to the young men behind their keyboards in 2018. South Africa knows no justice – even in death we have failed to give it to mama Nomzamo and even in death she refuses to be silenced. Her name is loud and strong enough to sweep away any ills against her. South Africa is growing trauma, especially for Black women.

The world expects too much from Black women, they are expected to work twice as hard and not tire. Both history and the present evangelise that women must be condemned if they fail to fold themselves while men must be celebrated for doing the exact same thing.

Mama Nomzamo is a classic example of a warfare on memory, there are mostly Black women who are refusing for her to be silenced and savaged as was commonly done in her life, and there is white media and patriarchy who thirst for cannibalism of her memory. White media and patriarchy are struggling because they were never trained about the possibility of a Black woman who says “you will not have me”. Patriarchy and white media believe that mama Madikizela is guilty and she should be crucified. Her sins according to this kangaroo caucus is being a Black women who could not be broken, knew her worth, and who would not be submissive to Black men’s screams and white people’s rage.

A poem of glory for mama Nomzamo Zanyiwe Madikizela

You carried us on your back even before some of us were born
Even in your youth you fought battles men and women twice your age couldn’t bear
Carried us with grace while you tackled the beast and made bullets surrender and you refused for us to be defeated
Even when Bishops tore you apart for the media you still carried us as if it wasn’t painful
Even when the TRC was set up to watch you burn, you did not complain
Your magical strength never broke, you were the first of your kind

Mama we are bleeding

You are a library whose pages cannot be erased,
and even if it was to be torched they’d still survive
Prison walls could claim to have known your touch but they couldn’t make us forget you
Your lungs know the taste of teargas but they did not subside or fail
Your name even in silence and isolation was too loud to be missed
Your name made oppressors bow down, even when you said nothing

Your life is evidence that not even power should be a reason for fear
Mama we are broken and sad but we are not afraid
For I have seen you come alive in your children, I’ve seen you in:

Lebo Mashile
Wanelisa Xaba
Naledi Chirwa
Simphiwe Dana
Vangile Gantso
Thandiswa Mazwai

Your life is testimony that
Black men make their homes a riot
So they can be celebrated at the expense of Black women
Black men make themselves both victims and heroes
Black men will hijack Black women from their spaces then evict them
Black men want glory from Black women’s work
Black men claim Black women’s bodies to validate their manhood
Black men will make Black women’s bodies disposable and still expect Black women to burst their waters open and bear them children they have no intentions of loving

Black men live for the expectation that Black women must build them up
Black men keep violating Black women and befriend white men
Black men make Black women the sacrifice and the injustice to sit by a white man’s table

Go home mama
Your throne awaits

Esihle Lupindo is a 21 year-old from Matatiele, doing his final year in a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Sociology and Organisational Psychology at Rhodes University. He has a deep passion for Black people, women, queer people and justice. He is also a feminist allay who believes that we cannot talk of liberation if women and queer people are still in chains.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policies of The Daily Vox.

Featured image via Flickr