Africa is mourning the passing of anti-apartheid stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela who died on Monday at age 81. She died after a long illness that kept her in and out of the hospital this year.
Winnie, who is affectionately described as “The Mother of the Nation”, left behind a legacy that surpasses the fact that she was Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife.
South Africa declared 10 days of national mourning for Winnie Madikizela Mandela and a state funeral will be held on April 14 after an official memorial service on April 11.
Among the many personalities expressing their condolences is Nelson Mandela’s widow Graça Machel who poured her heart out in a letter addressed to her husband’s ex-wife.
Read the letter below:
My Big Sister,
It is with a heavy heart that I address you today. As I struggle to accept your transition, I take solace in the fact that you have risen to become one of the brightest stars in the sky where you will remain ever present and radiantly shining. You will continue to serve as a guide to your loving family, your grateful nation, our beloved Africa, and indeed, the world.
The extraordinary life you led is an example of resilient fortitude and inextinguishable passion that is a source of inspiration to us all of how to courageously confront challenges with unwavering strength and determination. Thank you for your brilliant wisdom, your fierce defiance, and your stylish beauty.
Fortunately, stars shine brightest during the darkest of hours. I know you will continue to illuminate our sky, even through the storms and clouds. Your legacy will be an uplifting beacon from which we can continue to draw guidance and strength during difficult times.
You loved our people unconditionally and sacrificed so much for our freedom. It is my prayer that as befitting tributes are paid to you both at home and abroad, all of us will internalize the values you helped to mould and birth into existence. As a nation, I hope we will stand tall and proud, and as uncompromising as you were in the defense and protection of our rights. As one of our brightest stars, continue to be the lioness that protects your children and your grandchildren. Warm their hearts so that while your transition may shake them, it does not break their spirit.
Your legacy is everlasting. Take a well-deserved rest in peace, my BIG sister.
Love and Respect Always,
Your little sister, Graça
Graca Machel statement in full pic.twitter.com/2pRwd9Yzst
— vuyo mvoko (@vuyo_mvoko) April 4, 2018