By midday Monday, the death at age 81 of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the iconic — and at times controversial — symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, had been confirmed.
And I really need folks to understand the magnitude of who (and what) we lost today.
Winnie Mandela was the embodiment of the devotion, strength and tenacity that often makes Black women appear otherworldly to mere mortals. For decades she carried the hopes, fears and dreams of oppressed South Africans on her back even after her husband was ripped from her home and sentenced to a life behind bars.
“I don’t think the world would have known a Nelson Mandela, were it not for Winnie,” said Saths Cooper, a psychologist who was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela after participating in the 1976 Soweto riots.
And he’s right. Without Winnie there would be no Nelson Mandela legacy.