This April marks the passing of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Tributes for the late wife of former President Nelson Mandela, who will be remembered as a liberation leader in her own right, have come in from artists across the world. Perdeby took a look at the ways Madikizela-Mandela’s life has inspired and been commemorated through various art forms. 


South African musician Thandiswa Mazwai has paid tribute to Madikizela-Mandela through her music for years. Her album Belede, named after Mazwai’s mother, features covers of well-known South African songs and stands to commemorate the life’s work of struggle icons. Days before Madikizela-Mandela’s passing the artist performed a tribute show in her honour. Thandiswa likens Madikizela to her own mother and changed her Twitter name to display “Our Mother Has Died” after learning of Madikizela-Mandela’s passing.

Visual Art
Italian artist Onyinye Iwu celebrated Madikizela-Mandela through her 2017 Queens of Africa series. The image is dis-played alongside 100 words to describe Madikizela-Mandela’s contribution to positive change in Africa. Similarly Thenjiwe Nkosi honours the struggle icon in her Heroes. Her oil paintings ask the viewer to interrogate what forms our ideas about heroism as well as whom we consider heroes.


TV and Film
While Neslon Mandela was in prison serving his sentence, his wife experienced the raw-ness of fighting apartheid underground and on the frontline. The award winning Sundance documentary Winnie by director Pascale Lamanche tells of the brutality of apartheid as well as confronts the controversy surrounding Madikizela-Mandela’s legacy.


The Cry of Winnie Mandela by Njabulo Ndebele explores a fictionalised account of the lives of four women. The work details the hardships of apartheid and tells the story of women who continue to fight for liberation while their husbands are imprisoned, away as migrant workers, or committing adultery.


Rapper and TV personality Nomuzi Mabena celebrated Madikizela-Mandela in a 2017 fashion editorial. The work as acolaborative fashion-photo project between stylist Lethabo “Boogy” Maboi and photographer Chisanga Mubanga. For

Nomuzi, the photographs serve as a tribute to one of the female figures she idolises and hopes to one day share in her legacy.


Image: Thinumzi Dubeni

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