Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winnie Mandela Thanks Nigeria For Support During the South African Liberation Struggle

Winnie Mandela thanks Nigeria for S/Africa’s liberation

Written by Austine Odo
Nigeria Daily Trust
Sunday, 24 January 2010 21:54

Legendary South African freedom fighter, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, has acknowledged Nigeria’s role in her country’s struggle for liberation from white dominance, saying her countrymen were not grateful enough to Nigeria.

Expressing gratitude on behalf of her people, Winnie Mandela who spoke at the Media Trust 7th annual dialogue in Abuja Thursday said, ‘’I feel very guilty because I do not recall our country acknowledging the role played by this country (Nigeria) towards our liberation. My daughter and son, Danladen, reminded me that long ago, before the ‘coup’, His Excellency, Tafawa Balewa secretly donated 260 British pounds to the ANC, now our government, for the purchase of “hardware” or “AK 47” for our military wing of the ANC and the army continued to support us underground! We owe so much of our freedom to you! On behalf of South Africa, thank you Nigeria!”, she said.

Winnie Mandela also showered praises on Nigeria’s former first lady, Maryam Babangida, with whom she said she had a “very special relationship”. She recalled that she met Maryam for the first time soon after her Nelson Mandela was released from Robben Island prison in 1990. She described Maryam as a strikingly warm and charismatic woman who embraced her as if they had known each other for years.

“By the time we attended our first rally here, she had changed my wardrobe, from then on I had stunning outfits which she continued to send to me in South Africa to the extent that the outfit I am wearing before you was her last one to me when we were awarded doctorates together at Igbinedion University about four years ago”, she said.

She said Maryam on the occasion spoke to her about her women’s development projects which she was extremely passionate about, and she promised to invite her to see these and other numerous welfare projects. Winnie said Maryam’s legacy should continue to live in everyone, especially Nigerians, and suggested official dialogue channels between South African women democratic structures and those of Nigeria to protect her rich legacy for the continent.

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