Wilhelmina Williams, the mother of ANC struggle icon and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) soldier Coline Williams, died on the day the ANC had celebrated its109th birthday. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency
Wilhelmina Williams, the mother of ANC struggle icon and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) soldier Coline Williams, died on the day the ANC had celebrated its109th birthday. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

Memorial for anti-apartheid activist and ANC stalwart 'Aunty Meintjies'

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jan 18, 2021

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Cape Town - Anti-apartheid activist and ANC stalwart Wilhelmina Williams was honoured and mourned during a drive-by memorial in Bonteheuwel, on Sunday.

“Aunty Mientjies” as she was fondly known, died at the age of 81. The mother of four, died at her only surviving child’s home in Parow on Friday, January 8. Williams, the mother of fallen uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) soldier Coline Williams, died on the day the ANC celebrated its 109th birthday.

Coline was detained without trial for 11 months at Pollsmoor Prison in 1989. She and fellow MK member Robbie Waterwitch died in an explosion outside the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on July 23, 1989.

The drive-by memorial for Aunty Mientjies took place at Boekenhout Street, Bonteheuwel, and then proceeded for a wreath-laying ceremony in Athlone.

Originally from District Six, Williams was moved to Bonteheuwel due to the Group Areas Act and had lived in Parow for the last 10 years, until her death. Her health rapidly declined over the past few months; her dementia had significantly worsened since October.

The ANC in the Western Cape said Williams, a cook by profession, would with her colleagues, spend her Saturday mornings cooking food for men, women and teenagers detained at Pollsmoor and Victor Verster (now Drakenstein) prisons.

She also joined organisations that supported detainees.

ANC co-ordinator Ronalda Nalumango said Williams was one of the ANC’s most outstanding leaders.

“She was a mother and an activist. She knew intimately the price that activist families paid in our liberation Struggle. Her daughter Coline was detained for months without trial before losing her life alongside Robbie Waterwitch in an explosion that carried the hallmarks of an apartheid killing. Our comrade died without knowing how her child was killed.

“We call on the National Prosecuting Authority, as we did in the case of Ashley Kriel, to investigate the killing of Coline and Robbie. Their families must know the truth. We will never forget her courage and example.”

On her Facebook, Williams’s daughter Selina Williams shared a picture taken of her mother in her final hours, surrounded by family. She captioned it, “My mother was strong in faith and spirit, she did not complain of pain, she was accepting God’s plan…”

Williams leaves her daughter Selina and grandchildren.

Cape Argus

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