In addressing the gathering at the city’s council chambers, mayor Herman Mashaba apologised to her daughters for the delay in granting this freedom of the city.
“To Zenani and Zindzi, it is indeed shameful that we had to wait until the passing of Mam’uWinnie to recognise her for her contribution to this country’s freedom. You, more than most, know that, after all she had been through in her life, this was the least we could do to honour her memory and extend our gratitude for her many sacrifices,” he said.
Madikizela-Mandela was a woman of her time and there was no doubt that many had all but forgotten, and were largely unappreciative of, the role she played in shaping our history, he added.
At a time of racial and tribal tensions, Madikizela-Mandela spoke of black unity.
In her own words, he said, she instructed: “It is only when all black groups join hands and speak with one voice that we shall be a bargaining force which will decide its own destiny.”
“How I wish we could heed Winnie’s words, especially at this moment in our nation’s history when our daily troubles seem to force us to turn on each other when we should be more united than ever by our common goals.
“I fear that, as we continue to see each other as enemies or competitors for the scant resources available, we will be distracted from the bigger objective of the sort of true liberation Winnie longed for - that of political and, most importantly, economic liberation,” Mashaba added.