“Behind every great man
is a woman rolling her eyes.”
– Jim Carrey
He Promised by Anew(Duo)
BEHIND A GOOD MAN:
THE DEATH OF WINNIE MANDELA
by Kendall F. Person
Behind every good man, there is a good woman; and surrounding the relationship between Nelson and Winnie Mandela, this through the years saying, could have literally been written about them. But there is something more about this famed quote; something not sinister, but jarring. Perhaps in the way it skillfully defines a woman’s role as supporting, even if they are the backbone of civil defiance. There is no debate that President Mandela exemplified the spirit of freedom by peace. And without his larger than life presence, historians can only ponder if South Africa could have managed a peaceful exchange of power.
Through passive resistance Mahatma Gandhi led the struggle to India gaining independence. Martin Luther King taught change could be achieved through nonviolent disobedience. Both men stood at the helm of rallies and marches, living by the words they preached. But in South Africa it was different. For 25 years as civil war seemed imminent, and apartheid became a global resistance and the natives were getting restless and the Afrikaners were of the mind of a fight to the finish, Nelson lived in prison and while he was the name and face and spirit of the peaceful protest, inspired by Mahatma and Martin, it was Winnie that led the revolution… but sometimes by force.
In 1991, her name was nearly destroyed, after being convicted of kidnapping and memorialized by the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission, for her accountability in the violation of civil rights. Ironic indeed, however they were right. But the good – by far- outweighed the bad, and her nation would forgive her. She would accept their goodwill and put it to good use, as she stormed back to prominence in a big political way: By winning a seat in parliament – the Mother of South Africa – also saved her legacy.
She was a great woman, and not in spite of but because she was willing to stand behind. So many others on the front lines of political power and life changing moments, are not quite so humble, acting on interest of self, rather than love for country. As a whole, we do not consider the idea often, although in The Neighborhood it is a driving force; but it takes a mastery of life’s meaning and of our knowing and acceptance of time and place in history, to recognize that our contribution has a greater meaning.
She stood behind for many years, referred to most often as the wife of the great Nelson Mandela, But in the remembrance, her name is Winnie and she stands behind no one else.
this is… The Neighborhood
It only works if we believe that it does.
Release Your Butterfly and share beautiful.
Well done Kendall-she was a very complex person. Thanks for bringing attention to her.
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Ending apartheid via a peaceful transition of power was complex. Thank you for adding your voice.
I was living in the country at the time and was a UDF/ANC supporter. She was a disgraceful person who shamed our movement. Her support of murder as a political wespon (including petrol necklacing was unforgiveable). Mandela rather than be associated with her awful behaviour seperated and cut himself off from he. Please do not treat her as a hero) there was plenty of them.She allowed herself to become a toxic individual. She should only be remembered for how low a person can fall during periods of violent revolution
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I appreciate your first hand experience and recollection. One question 4 U: What about the greater good; do you not believe she held no influence in the ultimate outcome?
As soon as I heard the news, my thoughts turned to Stompie Moeketsi. May he rest in peace now.
But it is true, I grudgingly have to admit, that Winnie’s nightmarish antithesis to struggling on with an untenable Apartheid probably did more than anything else, to make Rolihlahla’s synthesis seem more attractive, to all sides. Maybe it was all a put-up job, pretend differences between Hegelians in cahoots.
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Some will remember her name as memorialized in the South African commission report. Most will remember her as the wife on Mandela. i will remember her as Winnie. Thank you for adding your voice.
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