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The Passing of Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

The boards of trustees of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital join South Africa and the world in mourning the loss of Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Mama Winnie, we celebrate you as one of the women who stood when no one else would. As a woman, your struggle was as hard and as complex as that of many women across the country. We particularly remember you as a parent who stood with other parents – the likes of Dr Nthato Motlana and Ntate Zephania Mothopeng – when the children in Soweto were under siege. On June 16, 1976, at an enormous cost to you personally, you elected to stand in defence of school children in the same way that you had done in the 1960s. We at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Children’s Hospital are forever grateful for your support and appreciation. We know that the struggle did not end in 1994, but it continues as we rebuild institutions that truly reflect our hope and aspirations for the nation.

Until the end, you remained an activist and like many of us, a prisoner of hope, who believed in the realisation of the dream that is the ‘rainbow nation’. In as far as you challenged us and forced us to confront our bitter realities; we are thankful. In as far as you provided counsel to political leaders, making them see beyond limited party interest; we have been strengthened. In as far as you stood with those who remain marginalised even as we seek the new nationhood; you are our conscience.

We, the NMCF and NMCH leadership can assure you that our struggle is not over. We continue to fight for a better future for those who seem hopeless, and to provide excellent healthcare to the indigent who are often invisible. In your moment of rest, we assure you that lizobuya. Lala ngoxolo Mangutyana, ugqatso ulufezile.