Winnie Mandela – Her Life, Her Strengths and Her Shoes

Winnie Mandela – Her Life, Her Strengths and Her Shoes

When the news that Winnie Mandela had died broke on Monday, I had a quick mental recap of the things I knew about her.


The twenty two year old girl that fell in love and got married to Nelson Mandela. She was barely five years into the marriage, with two toddlers to look after when her husband was arrested and imprisoned following his Anti apartheid movement.



She barely had anytime to love him or enjoy his love but She continued to fight the anti apartheid war, got tortured, was detained under house arrest, held in solitary confinement and at some point banished from town.



It would seem a lot for a young woman but she fought through it all. She was stubborn and would not be shut up or shut down. She fought for what she believed in and became a face for her imprisoned husband.



Years ago, I would love her and then judge her, I didn’t understand the need for so much violence and brutality. I didn’t like her approach then, i still don’t subscribe to it now.



She never had time to recover from the damage every of her experiences caused her. Now I’m really eager to read her book 491 days which captures her days in solitary confinement.


. “There is no longer anything I can fear. There is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known.” – Winnie




And just when her husband was released, came the separation and then the divorce, where he clearly stated he wanted no settlement on the grounds that she had an affair.



But the things I have taken away from her life and times are her strength, doggedness, her resilience, will power and strong belief in the causes she fought for despite the circumstances.


“If you are to free yourselves you must break the chains of oppression yourselves. Only then can we express our dignity, only when we have liberated ourselves can we co-operate with other groups. Any acceptance of humiliation, indignity or insult is acceptance of inferiority.” – Winnie



It’s no wonder Ruth Carter, the set costume designer for the movie Black Panther said Winnie was her inspiration. A very beautiful woman even in her old age, her sense of style was fierce, bold and powerful as depicted in the women of WAKANDA.



For a woman who was always on the move, her choice of footwear was just perfect. From court shoes with small cone heels to open low heeled sandals, comfort was key and very important to her.


Rest well Winnie Mandela, I think she fought a good fight and I hope she made peace with herself in her dying moments.






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