CROSSING BORDERS SOUTH AFRICAN EMBASSY INTERNNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, 8THMARCH 2019, UBUNTU HOUSE, COPENHAGEN

Excellencies!

Garba Diallo, Mariano Davies and Members of Crossing Borders!

Distinguished Guests!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am humbled by this gesture to so boldly honour my mother whose role is often overlooked when my father is revered and celebrated the world over.

My mother’s love for her people was deep and unconditional : always the first to arrive in a crisis situation on the ground without media or police protection. Her love knew no borders and extended from Cape to Cairo, even embracing the Diaspora. During the violent clashes that occurred between foreign nationals and South Africans: she would often be the first to arrive, standing between the warring factions, determined not to leave until she had brought about calm and only leave when she had ensured that people under attack left peacefully ,under the protection of  the authorities. It became my way of life when I would be at work or at home and out of the blue get a call with a greeting like  this: “Where are you darling, we need to go to Meadowlands. Our people need us.” This would be followed by a list of instructions about which Minister, MEC or medic to call.

We all remember how Mama  stood between protesting students and the heavily armed riot police during what has become known as June 16. We remember how she would haul and free protestors out of police vans, fearless and determined. As children, my sister and I saw most of her behind bars than at home ; we were at boarding school in Swaziland at ages 5 and 6 years. On the day that we returned home for the holidays, the security branch would ensure that they locked her up that same morning and we would return to an empty home.

Our kitchen was not only where we would cook and share meals, it became a war room, a strategic space where plots to overthrow the apartheid government were made ; where Mbongeni Ngema discussed the making of Sarafina ; where I first laid eyes on the young revolutionaries Tsietsi Mashinini and Khotso  Seathlolo ; where we would tune into Radio Freedom with a hunger to hear the voices of Duma Nokwe and the leadership in exile.

Many of you have had to cross geographical borders to be here. I remember attending a Crossing Borders event about three years ago where stories were shared about the other borders you have to cross in your new environment : the borders of fear, suspicion, anger and insecurity. My mother would have felt your pain and walked this journey with you.

Mama as a Freedom Fighter was incarcerated in apartheid prisons for many years on and off. She was tortured, kept in solitary confinement, banned, kept under house arrest and continuously harassed and monitored by the Security Police. They tried to weaken her strength and spirit and if her perpetrators had succeeded, we would not have remembered the imprisoned Nelson Mandela.

The apartheid government confined her to a refugee camp of oppression with all freedoms denied and she resisted. Mama Winnie’s legacy is one of crossing many borders : the borders of imprisonment and oppression, the borders of injustice, the borders of hatred and the violation of Human Rights.

As a woman, in the manner that her legacy is overlooked, questioned and tarnished : we all need to help her cross that border of patriarchy. It is ironic when I am referred to as Madiba’s daughter with no mention of my mother. It is ironic that in women’s dialogues and conferences, where we fight fiercely for our recognition as equals, we elevate Madiba and bury her legacy.

Why are we so afraid of celebrating one of our own? Are we stuck in a patriarchal refugee camp and ready to settle there? Why do we feed into the Madiba Saint and Winnie Sinner narrative when she has been vindicated off so many allegations? With that in mind, I encourage you to go and watch the Winnie documentary in which apartheid police confess to how she was set up in an attempt to destroy her credibility.

I would like to thank Crossing Borders for drying our tears for we cannot carry the burden of this loss alone. People say that time heals but that is not so ; one simply learns to live with the pain for there are daily reminders in things that we see, sounds that we hear and in haunting fragrances.

For a long time, after my mother’s passing, it was very difficult to watch the news for I see her everywhere in the suffering of my people and I know that where there is tragedy, grief, violence, hunger – she would have been there. I therefore urge you, in the spirit of Ubuntu which means “I am because we are” and in keeping with Mama Winnie’s legacy of unconditional love and unwavering service to others, be the change that you want to see in this world, as The Mahatma says.

Let us all cross our borders of ignorance and create constructive spaces within which to elevate one another in a sisterhood that will be an agency for real change.

Thank You!

 

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa address on the occasion of Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s 80th Birthday, Cape Town, 14 September 2016

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa address on the occasion of Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s 80th Birthday, Cape Town, 14 September 2016

I am honoured and humbled by this opportunity to share this lifetime achievement with Mama Winnie.

It is rather strange to be forced to admit that Mama is 80 years old.

In her glow, sparking beauty and the fullness of her life she does not look a day over 20.

The only explanation for this must be an error in the printing of the invitations. I suppose it ought to read rather that Mama Winnie is today turning 20, for the 4th time!

Being 20 for the fourth time, it would seem that she has not only found the fountain of youth but has also chanced upon the fountain of wisdom.

Indeed, Mama Winnie has had a life of mixed-fortunes, taking it is her stride to represent everything about the tenacity of the human spirit.

She exemplifies everything about the African proverb “woman, you are a rock, uyimbokoto, o swara thipa ka bogaleng”

But she is not any other rock, she is a diamond, build to last a lifetime, build never to break.

She exudes the complexity, strength and beauty of an oblong.

At various angles, her life sparkles as a towering figure for the women of her generation and of those that are yet to come.

Harassed, hounded and tortured by a brutal and murderous apartheid state, she would not shatter.

Deprived of a normal family life, the absence of her husband, banned and imprisoned at will, she stood firm.

In her glow she generated the warmth to dote her children with the love that made the absence of their father seem a temporary inconvenience.

When the apartheid police came for her, she remained stoic in her determination to claim justice for her people.

She remained a symbol of strength for the many women who had lost their husbands to the liberation struggle.

Enduring the worst in the times of oppression she ensured that the people would not lose heart.

She served as a pictogram for those who lived in constant harassment from an imbecilic, illegitimate and cowardice apartheid state.

Regardless of her own pain, she ensured that the children and families of liberation were clothed and fed.

Her greatest accolade was to ensure that Madiba would never be forgotten, that his name would remain on the limps of the oppressed people of the world.

Today, with the benefit of hindsight, we must acknowledge that her strength and generosity of spirit placed an inordinate burden upon her shoulders.

Standing in solitude she masked her pain; drowned out her cries and airbrushed the bruises of her suffering.

Somewhere deep and away from the glaring and roving eye of the public, she shouldered her pain alone, with inadequate recognition for her sacrifices.

That is why this day is so important that we may tell her while the Gods have spared her that we love her and thank her for keeping our struggle alive.

We know that she did not set-out on your struggle with the expectation of recognition or reward, but by the sheer weight of determination, her name will forever secure a permanent place in the history of our liberation struggle.

From her book of life, future generation will pick a leaf on what it means to be a phenomenal woman.

From her life they will know what it means to stand for justice.

From her life, they will know what it means to be faithful and loyal to the cause of human freedom.

From her life, they know that this is not a man’s world, that women too are heroes, that they too have shaped the course of our history.

We will tell them that she was a courageous woman who stood against oppression, lived to be 80 and lived her see her people free.

When future generations ask about her, we will tell them that Maya Angelou could have easy have had her in mind when she wrote the poem “And still I rise”; we will say:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Like everyone else she lived with fear, pain, loss and disappointment;

And yet each day she has arisen with the nobleness of the human spirit.

They tried to write her down in history with bitter and twisted lies; they trod her in the very dirt but still, like dust, she rose!

Her sassiness upset them; they were always beset with gloom because she walked like she had oil wells pumping in her living room.

Just likes the moons and like the suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes springing high, still she rose!

They wanted to see her broken; bowed head and lowered eyes, with her shoulders falling like teardrop, and weakened by soulful cries, but still she rose!

They said her haughtiness offended them?because she laughed like she had goldmines digging in her backyard.

They tried to shoot her with their words. They tried to cut her with their eyes. They tried to kill her with their hatefulness, but still, like air, she rose!

Out of the huts of history’s shame, she rose!

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, she rose!

She was like a black ocean, leaping and wide, welling and swelling, and yet she bore the tide.

At 80, leaving behind nights of terror and fear, she rises,

At 80, into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear, she rises;

At 80, she still brings the gifts that our ancestors gave;

She remains the dream and hope of the slave.

And still, at 80, she rises!

I thank you.

Issued by the Presidency

Cape Town

14 September 2016

Website: www.thepresidency.gov.za

MANDELA LEGACY WILL BE HONOURING ONE OF ITS CUSTODIANS, MRS WINNIE MADIKIZELA- MANDELA AS SHE TURNS EIGHTY

Mandela Legacy Poster

MANDELA LEGACY WILL BE HONOURING ONE OF ITS CUSTODIANS, MRS WINNIE MADIKIZELA- MANDELA AS SHE TURNS EIGHTY, THIS SEPTEMBER.

MAMA’S HISTORY WITH CAPE TOWN SPANS OVER MANY YEARS, FOR THE MOST PART, CAPE TOWN IS A PLACE THAT SIGNIFIED A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF PAIN. HAVING HAD TO VISIT HER HUSBAND WHO WAS INCARCERATED AND SENTENCED TO LIFE ON ROBBEN ISLAND, SHE FACED DENIGRATION, HARASSMENT AND HUMILIATION, OVER TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS… AND QUICKLY NEEDED TO READJUST AS A PARLIAMENTARIAN.

IN A QUEST TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND RECAST THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CAPE TOWN IN HER PERSONAL HISTORY, DRS. LETTA MBULU AND CAIPHUS SEMENYA WILL BE CURATING AND PRESENTING A MUSICAL EXHIBITION. THIS IS A FUTURE OF CELEBRATION AND EMBRACING THE MULTICULTURAL DIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA.

WE KINDLY INVITE YOU TO VISIT COMPUTICKET AND ARTSCAPE WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BE PART OF THIS MOMENTUS OCCASSION.

Tsietsi Mashinini Event – 5 May

Who Was Tsietsi Mashinini? …A Tribute to an African Hero this Africa Month

As we get closer to commemorate 40 years of June 16, we remember the leader of the 1976  Soweto student uprising; Tsietsi Mashinini. He alongside other brave and selfless students decided to take a stand against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in all black schools. A few days before the fateful day, Tsietsi had delivered a powerful speech calling for a mass demonstration at Morris Isaacson high school in Soweto joined by other students from various schools. It is estimated about 20 000 uniformed students joined the mass demonstration that day; the South African police shot live bullets at peacefully protesting students which led to the unjustified and ruthless killings.

Nsingizi Productions will honour Tsietsi’s life through the conscious sounds of Lunisani Masondo, Thembi Maputa and a Surprise Artist paying special tribute.

Journalist and Friend Oupa Ngwenya will present a few words on the life and times of Tsietsi.

Founder of Nsingizi Productions Mkhulu Nsingiza says  “much is said about June 16 1976 but little is known about Tsietsi Mashinini who was the leader of that revolution, We need to draw strength and guidance from our fallen heroes as we walk the last mile of our struggle to liberate our minds and marching back to our true home which is Kemet”

The Tribute is an occasion using music and poetry to remember his words and to continue to spread his legacy. It is also a moment to use Africa Month to educate ourselves about the men and women who have stood up for the liberation of this continent. This son of Soweto will be celebrated at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani with his family, friends and citizens on Thursday night the 5th of May 2016 from 6h30pm.

Struggle Icon and Mother of the Nation Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said about the impact of Tsietsi Mashinini  “One of the greatest moments in my life was the honour of having worked with the greatest revolutionary of our times in the 70’s, Tsietsi Mashinini. If there is truth in the adage that revolutions consume their heroes, this is a typical case a most uncelebrated hero is Tsietsi”.

Date:               Thursday 5 May 2016

Venue:            Soweto Theatre Jabulani

Time:               6h30pm for 7pm

Tickets:           R150 at the door or book on www.sowetotheatre.com or at pick n pay stores

For Further Information: visit www.facebook.com/tsietsitribute