3 August 2018
4 lessons famous women have learned from Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was undoubtedly one of the most influential people South Africa has seen. The struggle icon and activist, who lost her life in April this year, has touched the lives of many people across the country and the world.
While you might have heard stories about the stalwart, one of the best ways to get intimate with the story of her life is by watching the Michael Samuels feature film Mrs Mandela starring Sophie Okenedo as Winnie, which is streaming on Showmax this month (available from Thursday, 16 August). You’ll see how her circumstances shaped her into the formidable figure she became.
A lot of people, including celebrities, have been very vocal about the role Mam’ Winnie has played in their lives. Here are four women who have spoken out about the impact she had on them.
1. Nomzamo Mbatha
Speaking to Showmax about what she has learned from the “mother of the nation”, Nomzamo Mbatha said: “She lived up to her name sake.”
Her resilience is another thing that Nomzamo admired about Mam’ Winnie. The Isibaya star also added that she has learned a great deal about the ability of the human spirit to persevere against all odds. Everybody knows how much Nomzamo loved Mam’ Winnie. She has shared the story of how she was named after the late anti-apartheid activist. In an interview on Real Talk with Anele, she explained that her grandmother gave her that name.
Nomzamo, who also advocates for mental health, refugees and other causes, said she asked her grandmother about the meaning behind her name. “I’m so grateful that I was named after such a giant, such a spirit…”
2. Mpho Lestholonyane
Mpho Letsholonyane is another star who’s taken a few lessons from the late icon. She told Showmax: “What I have learnt from Mama Winnie is that strength comes from within. You’re only broken by what you allow to break you.”
The TV and radio personality added: “Also, that when you’re determined, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. It took her 27 years to get her husband back, but eventually she did. Imagine she had given up? What would’ve become of us as a people? She was power, resilience and strength personified.”
3. Salamina Mosese
Actress and TV presenter Salamina Mosese remembered a quote attributed to Mama, which is one of her favourites. It reads: “If you are to free yourselves you must break the chains of oppression yourselves. Only then can we express our dignity, only when we have liberated ourselves can we co-operate with other groups. Any acceptance of humiliation, indignity or insult is acceptance of inferiority.”
Salamina also told Showmax: “From this as a young woman growing up in present day South Africa, she reminds us that we are still fighting for our freedoms, big or small. She reminds us to continue to fight for our dreams, stand together as a united force, and forge ahead.”
4. Naomi Campbell
International supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is close to the Mandela family, shared an emotional speech at Winnie’s funeral this year. She spoke about what the “mother of the nation” has taught a lot people, including herself.
“On a personal level, I feel that Winnie represents something that we all have within us… She taught us not to be limited in our thoughts, reminding us to always stay true to who we are. Winnie helped us to overcome our fears and gave us the courage to dig deep and discover things about ourselves, and to always strive for freedom.”
The British model added: “I was lucky to get to know her quite closely, and one of the things she always said to me and embedded in me was [that] I must use my God-given ability and strength to make an impact in this world.”
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