The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) joins hands with many who have noted the passing on of Cde Madikizela Mandela. We do so because we are aware of her role in the struggle for the liberation of the economically marginalised Africans both in South Africa and the diaspora. Her values in this regard mirrors those of the BLA.
Whilst many may remember her merely as a wife to former President Mandela, we recall her as a cadre who dug her own trench in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa from which she operated apart and independent of her role as a wife.
During the dark decade of the eighties she stood as a candle in the wind against the illegitimate and minority apartheid government which banned, tortured and humiliated her endlessly and mercilessly. In so doing she brought hope to a large section of the youth movement and proved to many that the idea of freedom was not a pipe dream but a goal worth struggling and dying for. Through her unwavering leadership she managed to organise ANC’s underground cells and nucleus at the time when the ANC was banned. It is on this basis and sacrifices of many other comrades that our people did not lose hope for triumph over apartheid.
As a graduate of Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work she rejected a scholarship which would have taken her to the major capitals of the World and chose instead to pursue her craft in her own country which brought her into direct confrontation with the harsh realities in which her people lived. She defied all established social protocols and transcended all lines of social distinction in order to forever be close to the people she loved, the downtrodden masses of our people. Amidst all the injustice she suffered she never wavered in her effort to pull closer the frontiers of freedom for the oppressed majority of our country. She soldiered on despite that some of her trusted people betrayed her and the movement throughout the struggle phase. She sacrificed the comfort of her own children in order to achieve freedom of many.
In the midst of the state sponsored violence that gripped the country in the late eighties to early nineties, she was forever found alongside the suffering masses and never stood aside when an occasion called for decisive action, thus she saved many from homelessness and deprivations of all sorts. The BLA recognises and acknowledges the immeasurable contributions that she extended towards the emancipation as well as the development of women of our country, both during the darker days of apartheid and post 1994 liberation. She did all these as a freedom fighter in her many capacities including being the President of the ANC Women’s League as well as peoples’ servant as the Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology.
Her soul is a golden example to us and posterity of what it meant to be the best South African, in a country in which a large majority was disenfranchised through the cruelties of a few. Her life teaches us that moments of oppression call for no saints but men and women possessed of a historic mission. Mama Mandela will, in the legal profession, forever be remembered for using services of Black Lawyers even when it was not fashionable to many of our leaders.
We therefore extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to her children and the entire Madikizela and Mandela families, we thank them for having released her to go out into the world and play the role of a liberator, which she played ever so brilliantly.
President of the Black Lawyers Association
082 369 2017