South Africa, once an example of racial healing and progressive social structures, has lost Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and former spouse of Nelson Mandela. She died today after an apparent year-long struggle with health issues. Nelson Mandela and his wife both faced incarceration and persecution because of their message of equality and dismantling of apartheid, a message that changed the country for the better until it took a turn for the worst.
This is not to say that we don’t know the controversial past of both Winnie and Nelson Mandela, but historical figures are never as black-and-white as their remembrance depicts them. We of course do not stand behind their contribution to terrorism and violent tactics utilized during their early political career, nor can we defend the simpatico status they had towards Fidel Castro. That being said, the social and political change brought forth by Nelson and Winnie Mandela was positive and tangible.
Growing racial anonymous combined with a newly elected corrupt regime has begun the targeting of citizens based on their skin colour in a political climate what seems to be escalating to full-blown genocide in South Africa, an unimaginable scenario some years ago. Seeing the face of the wonderful country of South Africa take such a turn is a bitter reminder of how liberal democracies will not remain simply because they were once established, and for Nelson Mandela’s legacy, it is little more than a full-blown assault.
The question is, with the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an activist who fought for the end of tyrannical practices like the ones we see being implemented in South Africa, have we seen the last spark fade from Nelson Mandela’s activism? Certainly, Nelson and Winnie Mandela would never stand for the persecution of white farmers, the seizure of land without compensation, and the social justice warriors who are attacking, killing, and raping these people with little legal blow-back.
The Unshackled stand next to South Africans, and wholeheartedly support the expedition of humanitarian visas to anyone who may need to escape the new tyrannical government, and the vicious criminals galvanized by their message, regardless of their skin colour, but to truly end the suffering in South Africa we can only hope that a voice as inspirational as Mandela’s can revolutionize the country once again.
Deputy Editor, The Unshackled
Host of the Front and Center Podcast