The Jamaica government says it has lost a “friend and an inspiration’ as it has paid tribute to the former anti-apartheid campaigner, Winnie Mandela, who died in her homeland on Monday.
“Winnie Mandela was a symbol of the black struggle against oppression and injustice. We here in Jamaica supported her in that struggle as she maintained the legacy of her then husband Nelson Mandela while he was locked away for 27 years,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, noting that her death brings into focus the significant struggle of black people against racism.
Winnie Mandela died in South Africa on Monday. She was 81 years old.
Holness made reference to what he termed the tremendous impact that both Winnie and her late ex-husband Nelson Mandela had on him and the world.
“As a young man the Mandelas were inspirations to me and many of my peers. We were cognizant of the evolution of the struggle that culminated in the release of Nelson Mandela and majority black rule. We still strongly remember their visit to Jamaica in 1991 as I know do many Jamaicans today,’ Holness said, adding that the former South African icon is immortalised in the Jamaican socio-cultural consciousness with songs and stories about her life and struggles.
“Winnie is a part of us. We identified with her struggle and we recorded songs about her. Jamaica embraced her not just as the wife of Nelson Mandela but importantly the mother of modern South Africa – a woman who was a freedom fighter and liberator in her own right,” he said, adding that Jamaica has lost a friend and an inspiration.