Open letter: To Stella Ndabeni

Magdalene Moonsamy. (Gallo)

Magdalene Moonsamy. (Gallo)


Dear Stella 

"If anyone is in doubt of Mama Winnie Nomzamo Mandela's love for her people and for South Africa as a whole let him look at what she has endured….", Reverend Bishop Manas Buthelezi, in his tribute to Mama Winnie, the Reverend goes on to demonstrate in his tribute that Mama that, "…many people who do a lot of talking", there are a very few who do so "…without counting the cost they may be called upon to pay as a consequence".

I would not have taken the time to respond to your Facebook comments especially because we are not friends; however, as a young woman in South Africa I was disturbed to have found that your comments found expression in national newspapers and I believe it is extremely necessary to set the record straight on your distasteful utterances that find expression in the public domain.

I look with awe to the women who have stood in the gap and sustained a struggle both during and post-apartheid. Women like Mama Winnie who married the struggle and taught her children the patience of being born into a struggle to liberate the people of South Africa, yourself included.

Is the value that we attribute to the 100 long years of selfless struggle epitomized through the sacrifice of Mama Winnie and her family after having been imprisoned whilst pregnant for this democracy, political freedom and the right to vote the ANC in as a ruling party.

Is this the manner in which you have been taught to appreciate and understand the ANC and the undisputed role played by Mama Winnie is a Stalwart, Veteran, Former President of the ANCWL, Freedom Fighter, Mother of the Nation, Revolutionary, Activist and indeed a woman of integrity. 

To make such irresponsible remarks as a Deputy Minister, especially as a young woman who represents the aspirations and dreams of millions who still live in dire poverty, remain unemployed and face the dungeons of our economic inequality is an indictment on the future of young women in South Africa. Moreover, because it was the calibre of women like Mama Winnie who stood against all odds to fight for this political liberation and allow you to enjoy gender equality.

How dare you attempt to diminish the rich legacy of Mama who has never retreated from freeing our people politically and economically? She is the culmination of the life of a woman who has never backed down from principle and commitment not only to the masses of South Africa but the oppressed peoples the world over.

During the June 16th uprising in Soweto it was Mama who saw the desperation of children for political justice. She refused to disappoint the future, "...if we let them down now, they will spit on our graves one day", she took heed to the fighting spirit of children not their gossip but their tenacity when they fought, "…with the thirst for freedom in little children's hearts"

Is it wrong for Mama; the mother of a nation, to caution young people and advocate for One Partner? This especially when HIV&AIDS is ravaging our communities of parents who perish because of the disease; and leave their young children in the care of the elderly. (This amongst many other daily fatalities facing our people.)

How can it be that during the month when we celebrate the birth of Tata Nelson Mandela whom the world sees as an icon of peace and sacrifice, that we as South Africans degrade the Nelson Mandela family. It is especially at this time that we ought to praise the efforts of Mama for having been the backbone of a struggle that kept a nation united under the most hostile conditions had it not have been for the strength of Mama.

Is this not actually the task of a young woman like yourself to set aside your personal persuasions in the interest of the masses?

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to initiate yourself on the life of a woman who was banned, detained and imprisoned; yet her stature and resilience resonated to the world and the most apathetic to freedom.

A woman who never sold out the mandate of her generation and the generation following her, one who never abandoned the revolution in the quest for fame and fortune and one who above all has an unrequited love for principle.

Appreciating the pain of triple oppression faced by women, I would prefer at all times that Unity of women remains paramount and is never sacrificed for the temptation of political expediency.

Kind Regards

Ms Magdalene Moonsamy

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