Sunday, December 14, 2014
WINNIE MANDELA, A STRONG WOMAN NOT GIVEN HER DUES?
Icheoku just re-watched "Mandela, long walk to freedom", a movie about the life and times of the South African legend; a man who sacrificed so much of his life to achieve freedom for his people. A very good movie indeed - well acted and nicely choreographed too as well as its scenic cinematography. But the movie is not the purport of this essay, it only provided Icheoku with a brain-jolt to look into the real heroine of the apartheid struggle without whom, possibly Nelson Mandela would not have become the legend he became.
Icheoku says Winnie Madikizela Mandela played a very important role, may be of equal significance if not more important than Nelson Mandela himself, in the struggle for a free South Africa. While Nelson was imprisoned, she dutifully held the fort, raising their children while simultaneously, bravely organizing and leading the uprising that eventually toppled South Africa apartheid government. She also suffered untold discomfort from the same apartheid South African government trying to make her abandon the struggle. From Nelson Mandela's early activist days to his imprisonment to his release and eventual presidency, Winnie was rock-solid behind her man and lived her life in full commitment to the ideals of the struggle. For these Icheoku says Winnie Mandela has earned her place in the pantheon of history as a heroine of the South Africa liberation struggle and should be so fully acknowledged and recognized.
Icheoku is emphatic that but for Winnie, Nelson would possibly have compromised the struggle or accepted a release from prison deal from the government or even worse, died brokenhearted behind the walls of Robbin Island prison? But any man would brave the situation. knowing fully well that he has an indefatigable wife or partner getting his back and that while he was gone, someone was taking care of business on his behalf. Icheoku asks which man would not pray to be so blessed with such a woman as Winnie Mandela faced with similar circumstances? While Nelson Mandela was locked away, Winnie held fort, Winnie took care of business and Winnie sustained the struggle for liberty of the oppressed black majority under White minority apartheid South Africa. An epitome of strength and courage, who herself was severally harassed, intimidated and locked up in solitary confinements just to break her resolve but she did not bulge nor cower.
Icheoku says if a "STRONG WOMAN" ever existed, Winnie Mandela is that she; and Icheoku is one proud loving man of strong women, provided their strength is in holding fort when duty calls but not on needless confrontations and disrespectful, scornful mannerism towards their husbands. As demonstrated by Winnie, strong women should be source of strength to their husbands but not their nightmare; they should be capable of effectively stepping in and filling their husband's big shoes when duty calls and do it without much complain. Icheoku says Winnie Mandela delivered this lesson with big equanimity; she taught aspiring "strong" women how to be strong and still remain a beautiful woman. Just like femininity is still in vogue and beautiful, Icheoku maintains that any woman can be strong while still remaining a woman but not an unneeded usurping Madam Husband?
Icheoku however has issue with Nelson Mandela for walking away from Winnie despite her sacrifices on his behalf, waiting for twenty-seven long years without eloping with other eligible men and they were many indeed that came after her, while Nelson was gone. Icheoku refuses to accept that her indiscretion was such an egregious unforgiven sin for Mandela not to find a place in his heart to tuck it away and forge on. At over seventy years old when he was released from prison, most men would have pretended nothing happened and lived his life out with his loving and dutiful wife who stood firm and bravely carried the torch of freedom-fighting while a caged Mandela could not do much from behind his prison walls. Icheoku maintains that if Nelson Mandela could forgive his tormentors and oppressors, why did he not find it honorably doable to also forgive Winnie's indiscretion?
But hey, the story of Nelson Mandela and apartheid struggle is legion and everywhere; but Icheoku states and unequivocally too, that Winnie Madikizela Mandela was not given her due recognition for her role in both ending apartheid and making Nelson the man he really became. Hers is atypical of the saying that behind every successful man there is always a woman and a very strong woman for that matter. Icheoku says if every 'strong' woman walking the face of the earth should be like Winnie Mandela, then may there be no weakling sissy left standing. Winnie, Icheoku says, thank you for loving Nelson the way you did and for also courageously holding the fort while he was gone.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela, please just know that history will properly accord you the elevated place of honor which you rightly earned and deserve. Icheoku says, Icheoku, Africans and the world know who the true wife and African queen of Nelson Mandela is. Icheoku says your place in history is incapable of being wiped or wished away, admitted that the masochistic African male society, that only sees women but refuses to hear or acknowledge them for their roles in the society, would rather the whole praise went to your husband Nelson Mandela alone; but your role remains indelible and will inure forever. Icheoku says well done Mama Africa, we thank you, we love you and we wish you a long, healthy and happy life.