- Ma Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's friend has opened up about the hardship the ex-wife of Mandela faced
- Georgina Nobusuku Masesi Mbanjane left her job in Welkom to meet Ma Winnie, just after news broke of her banishment
- Ma Winnie reportedly had nothing with her, with all her belongings being kept at the police station
- She was also under strict surveillance, as the police monitored her home and whom she talked with
When Ma Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away South Africans lost a powerful and influential woman, but Georgina Nobusuku Masesi Mbanjane lost much more, she lost her friend.
Speaking to News24, Ma Winnie's friend gave a heartbreaking glimpse into the life of Mandela's ex-wife during Apartheid.
When Mbanjane read Winnie was banished to Brandfort in 1978, she dropped everything, including her job in Welkom at the post office, to go and meet the activist.
"I wanted to see this beautiful woman with my own eyes.", she said.
According to Mbanjane, Winnie was surprised to see anyone would risk their lives to visit her, adding she did not expect it.
"She opened the door and asked: 'Are you not afraid of the police?'", she recalled, adding she told Ma Winnie that she did not care.
She remembered the mother of the nation asking again if she was not afraid of the police, to which she answered no.
Mbanjane said Ma Winnie was living with her two daughters, whom she had with late former president Nelson Mandela.
She recalled the little girls sitting on boxes filled with their clothes, adding they had nothing more because the police confiscated most of her belongings.
The anti-apartheid activist was monitored closely, and the police knew everything of every person who came to visit her.
The officers were at the time in a tower on a 'koppie', overlooking the township.
Mbanjane said Ma Winnie asked who she was and over a plate of samp the two women's friendship began.
An emotional Mbanjane said not many people knew the true Winnie.
It was clear Ma Winnie's friend was taking her death hard, and to top it off, she does not have the money to go to her funeral.
But, she said she would do what ever it takes to go and bid her friend farewell, even if it meant hiking or walking there.
Winnie's 56-year-old friend opened up about the hardships of living in Brandfort during the Apartheid times.
Mbanjane recalled her father sold homemade beer and when he got caught, apartheid officials took their home and sold it as punishment.
However, Winnie looked after her friend and years later she managed to get Ace Magashule to help build her a RDP home.
Mbanjane said it took no longer than two weeks for the request to be granted and arrangements to be made.
Now, after the death of her friend, she went back to where Winnie lived when she was banished. She said her heart breaks every time she looked at the condition of the home, which was now being used as a drug den.
"They must fix it so that everyone can know that Mama Winnie lived there. Every time I pass the house, I cry because this is my mother's house. How can it be in this state?"
Mbanjane said the government should hold up their promise to turn the house into a museum.
"They must build this museum that they have been talking about for years so that our children and grandchildren can be taught that this is where we grew up. They have been saying they are renovating, they are renovating, till today.", she said.
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