BUSANI NGCAWENI: Remembering Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela in August


Every August, Women’s Month, we gather to remember the toil and suffering of women under sexist and dehumanising forces of slavery, apartheid and capitalism. These are the tributaries that feed the devastating tide of patriarchy.

Yet the spirit of triumph prevails. We see and feel it through a defiant young girl. She who defies all forms of chauvinism. She refuses to be defined by anything other than her worth, her humanity, character and intellect.

She defies crime and claims her space and time. She fights those who turn her body into a crime scene. She yearns for and fights for freedom, freedom of being and becoming.

She is freedom!

In her embrace of history and radiant vision of the future, she defies her own accumulated disabilities of poverty and inequality.

We hear her sing “senzeni na...”
We hear her cry in song, “mabayeke umhlaba wethu...”

We saw her read “the land is ours”.
She asserts herself in being and deeds. She is freedom personified.

We will meet her as innovator and global leader tomorrow. She flies supersonic jets, performs open brain surgeries, writes and sings to global acclaim.

She doesn’t want pity or handouts.
She wants free, quality and decolonised education.
Through knowledge she smells economic freedom in her lifetime.

She wears a doek in celebration, not in submission. She wears it also to annoy and defy those who despise the ways of her people. She breaks free from chauvinist, including bigots, who dictate her ways of self-determination.

She is freedom.
She is Nomzamo.
She knows Nomzamo was also Zanyiwe.

She says if Winnie Mandela, our Zanyiwe, if our mother of freedom was on trial till the end, she will get justice for her children.

She rose from a tiny village to make a mark in the global village, shaking the establishment.
She didn’t cower nor take cover.

She meditates for the freedom of the people of Palestine and Western Sahara - bound together by the bonds of human solidarity.

These are the children of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. They are her. She lives in them.
She long multiplied.

She uses defiance as a negation of oppression and affirmation of hope about a future free of white supremacy, patriarchy, economic bondage, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia and all forms of gender-based violence.

She is the fire burning all traces of prejudice.

She is the spear of Shaka, the shield of Hintsa and the heart of Queen Mantantisi tearing down racial and patriarchal oppression.

She is a poet, a prophet, a professor, a philanthropist, a pianist, a pilot, a physicist, a protégée, a protector, a preacher, a politician, a polyglot and most importantly she is people-centric.

Even as history and capitalism pulls her down, she keeps on trying, uyazama, uNomzamo!

Nomzamo, the zeitgeist of young women who defy all odds in a hostile political economy.

She is the future.
The future she chose.
The future we choose.

Through this resilient young woman, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela defied death, she multiplied.

Nomzamo lives!