'Winnie was born Mpondo princess from an important Eastern Cape family'

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died of illness on Monday at age 81.

Historian Vashna Jagarnath and political analyst Karima Brown, join Eusebius McKaiser to discuss the life, the times and the person that was Madikizela-Mandela.

Read: Frank Chikane: Madikizela-Mandela survived the worst treatment during apartheid

Winnie was not born a Mandela and has a history of her own before she met Nelson Mandela.

Jagarnath says part of the problem with nationalist myth-making and writing histories about the past, there is a 'flattening out of history and it takes on a very narrow gendered narrative'.

Also read: We thought she could cheat death indefinitely - Victor Dlamini

You have a heroic narrative of the hero and the hero cannot have complexity and if you do have complexity and you cannot be flattened out because you refuse to be quiet like Mama Winnie used to refuse to be quiet, then you become superficial to that story. There are many women, even many men who have been relegated to the dustbins of history because of this.

Vashna Jagarnath, Historian

She says Mama Winnie had a full life before she met Nelson Mandela.

That is something we need to engage with as people often start her life at that moment of when she meets Nelson Mandela.

Vashna Jagarnath, Historian

She says Winnie Mandela was born into an important family in the Eastern Cape in Mpondoland on 26 September 1934.

She was born into a royal family. She was a Mpondo princess and she was also born at a time in the early part of the 20th century when the Eastern Cape was a space that was in the making. And she talks about how her father was very much influenced by the Germans and admired the Germans, and that is not coincidental as there were many German missionaries in that part of our country.

Vashna Jagarnath, Historian

That is why her name Winifred comes from that German side, which means a friend of peace and reconciliation.

Vashna Jagarnath, Historian

Brown said the dichotomy around expaining Winnie Mandela is that she was married to a man whom the world has turned into a saint.

Whenever we look at her, we have to cross this big hurdle to get to her. I think we need to stop that. I think we need to evaluate what she brought to her own life and the lives of people that she touched. And of cause her remarkable resilience in demanding his release.

Karima Brown, Political Analyst

Listen below to this insightful interview of the life, the times and person of Madikizela-Mandela:


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