Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the Jabulani Amphitheatre, Soweto, in August 1990. Picture: Raymond Preston/Sunday Times
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the Jabulani Amphitheatre, Soweto, in August 1990. Picture: Raymond Preston/Sunday Times

The City Of Johannesburg has conferred the Freedom of the City posthumously on struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The award is the highest honour that the council can confer upon an individual or group.

Madikizela-Mandela died in April at the age of 81. She joins Walter Sisulu, former president Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, Beyers Naudé, Ahmed Kathrada, Sophie de Bruyn, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Andrew Mlangeni and George Bizos, who have all been bestowed with the award since 1996.

Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Monday in the city's council chambers that “we will always need people like Mam’uWinnie because they inspire commitment and determination in all of us who wish to bring meaning into the lives of others.”

He said those gathered should be grateful for her life of value, for the way in which she sought to put service of others first.

“In all of her pursuits, it is clear that she was a woman who loved her people and her country and was driven to make a difference in those whose lives she touched,” Mashaba said.

He added that many lives were shaped throughout her life as an activist. He said the values of service that she instilled in those she encountered throughout her life would live on in those who knew her, and would be emulated by those who sought to live a comparable life.

He called on the council to expedite the approval of a proposal to name the City of Johannesburg’s council chambers after her, and said her family had asked the city to honour her by hosting the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela children's parliament at least once a year, in the council chambers. Mashaba said if the council would accede to this request, it would be proper to host the children’s parliament on September 26 — her birthday.

“Winnie Madikizela-Mandela deserves much higher honours than the ones we are proposing to bestow upon her but it is the least we can do in appreciation of a life lived for the upliftment of all of us,”Mashaba said.

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