Zenani Dlamini takes Winnie detractors to task

HRH Zenani Dlamini was scathing of those who she said had only come out to correct misrepresentations about Madikizela-Mandela after her death. (GCIS)

HRH Zenani Dlamini was scathing of those who she said had only come out to correct misrepresentations about Madikizela-Mandela after her death. (GCIS)

Her Royal Highness Zenani Dlamini took aim at her mother’s detractors while giving a joint tribute with her sister Zindzi Mandela at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Dlamini – who struggled to begin her speech as she was interrupted by bouts of coughing – said popular history had erased Madikizela-Mandela’s contributions and other women from the liberation struggle. People could be forgiven if they thought it was a “man’s struggle and a man’s triumph”.

READ: Read Zenani Mandela-Dlamini’s speech in full

“Nothing could be further from the truth. My mother is one of the many women who rose against patriarchy, prejudice and the might of a nuclear-armed state to bring about the peace and democracy we enjoy today” said Dlamini.

The struggle hero’s daughter expressed her gratitude to the young women who stood up under the banner of the #IAmWinnie movement and “took a stand of in deep solidarity” with Madikizela-Mandela against the negative narrative that had become her public story.

“You show that we can be beautiful, powerful and revolutionary – even as we challenge the lies that have been peddled for so long.”

“As the world, particularly the media, who have been directly complicit in the smear campaign against my mother, took notice of your resistance so too did this narrative begin to change” said Dlamini.

To a crowd shouting “Bua! Bua!” Dlamini questioned why some who had known the truth about her mother waited until her death to speak.
“I think their actions are actions of extreme cruelty because they robbed my mother of her rightful legacy during her lifetime. It is little comfort to us that they have come out now,” she said.

“I was particularly angered by the former police commissioner George Fivaz for cruelly only coming out with the truth after my mother’s death,” she said.

Fivaz had ordered the reopening of Stompie Seipie’s case, the 14-year-old boy who was suspected to have been killed under Winnie’s watch. He recently said there was no evidence linking Winnie to the murder.

Economic Freedom Fighters Commander in Chief Julius Malema took off on the same note saying some of Winnie’s biggest critics had now turned into her biggest mourners.

Malema said he had spoken to Seipei’s mother who refused to speak on the podium because she didn’t want to cause unnecessary squabbles at “the mother of the nation’s funeral”.

READ MORE: Stompie burnt into Winnie legacy

“Some of those who sold out the regime are here. And what is funny mama is that they are crying the loudest” said Malema.

“The UDF cabal is here,” said Malema, to the roaring crowd, a section of which was dominated by red T-shirts and berets.

Malema was speaking in refernce to a press conference held by the United Democratic Front in 1989, where it disassociated itself with Madikizela-Mandela. “The cabal that rejected you… and sent you to the brutal apartheid regime is here.”

“Mama, you never told me how we must greet them when they come here,” he said.

The EFF president assured Winnie’s children that none of them would be “treated like they have leprosy” while he is still alive.

In her final words, Dlamini acknowledged that she and her sister Zindzi have been fortunate to have Winnie and Nelson Mandela as their parents.

“Unlike many of those who imagined a contested legacy between my mother and my father we do not have that luxury because they are our parents. All we ask, no matter how tempting it is to compare and contrast them, just know that sometimes it is enough to contemplate two historical figures and accept that they complimented each other far more than any popular narrative.”

Malema challenged the ANC to rename Cape Town International airport in Madikizela-Mandela’s name in honour of her legacy.

Tebogo Tshwane

Tebogo Tshwane

Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust financial journalism trainee at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a general news intern at Eyewitness News and a current affairs show presenter at the Voice of Wits FM. Tshwane is passionate about socioeconomic issues and understanding how macroeconomic activities affect ordinary people. She holds a journalism honours degree from Wits University.  Read more from Tebogo Tshwane

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