So long, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

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Mama Winnie Mdikizela-Mandela was a very strong, sincere, no-nonsense woman. I remember her mothering me, giving advice when she believed one needed it. She was highly intelligent with a razorblade sharpness. I always felt so proud having her as a good and enduring friend.

I was the driver of both Winnie and Nelson Mandela from 20 March 1990 until 22 March 1990 during Namibia’s independence celebrations in Windhoek. Late former President Mandela had just been set free from Victor Verster Prison. Again, I felt so proud. Our car took forever to get from point A to point B, as Namibians were so excited to see the Mandelas. Namibians touched the car, sang and danced with joy. The ANC delegation experienced Namibia’s warmth and hospitality. Mama Winnie showed how touched she felt by such overwhelming happiness . She was full of compliments.

When the Mandelas arrived late at what is now called the Hage Geingob rugby stadium, the packed-to-capacity stadium stood up like one person, singing freedom songs, being over-excited getting to see them.

Mama Winnie and her daughter Zindzi travelled to Windhoek in September 2006 to be with me and my family at the funeral of my late mother. It was special. Namibia’s Father of the Nation, retired Cde President Dr Sam S. Nujoma hosted Mama Winnie, also known in South Africa as “Mother of the Nation”, at his home in Windhoek on the eve of my mother’s funeral. It was indeed special, if not historic.

I wish Mama we Sizwe, Cde Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to rest in peace. You have served your nation well. Hamba Kahle Mama Winnie. A Luta Continua!
Udo Froese

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