Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday described the passing away of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, as a huge loss to Africa of a courageous woman.
He said she remains a pride not only to the African woman, but indeed all Africans. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said, Buhari noted that she was a woman of uncommon determination, steadfastness and perseverance who held aloft the torch of the struggle against institutionalised discrimination even while her ex-husband, the late Madiba, President Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.
“President Buhari, commiserated with the family of the deceased, the government and people of South Africa, urging them to be consoled by the knowledge that the late Winnie Mandela’s contributions to ending apartheid will not be forgotten. Buhari prayed that God Almighty will comfort all those who mourn Mrs. Mandela and grant her soul eternal rest.”
In his tribute, former Commonwealth Secretay-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku in a statement said Winnie was for many years the soul and public face of the anti-apartheid struggle while her husband Nelson Mandela was in prison.
He said her sacrifice to the struggle was immense, noting that she suffered banishment by the apartheid regime to a solitary area in Brandfort for a number of years. Anyaoku said: “I remember the iconic and unforgettable picture of Winnie and Nelson Mandela walking hand in hand from Victor Verster prison on the day of Nelson’s release in February 1990 after 27 years as a prisoner.
“And I recall with nostalgia her grace and dignity at my very first official dinner as Commonwealth Secretary-General which my wife and I hosted in London on 5 July 1990 in honour of Nelson and Winnie Mandela.
“My wife and I join her two daughters, Zenani and Zindziwa, and all the people of South Africa in mourning the demise of a woman who notwithstanding her human frailties was indeed a great historic figure.”