Criticism of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is due to patriarchal hypocrisy, EFF leader Julius Malema said in Thembalethu, George, in the Western Cape on Friday.
“They hated her because they hate African women,” said Malema while addressing a crowd gathered at a party rally.
“They say all manner of nonsense about Winnie… they accuse her of many things.”
He said the actions of which she was accused, were actions committed by many men, but they were never condemned for them like she was.
“Let me give you one example: they say Winnie Mandela killed Stompie Seipei.”
He said that Madikizela-Mandela had never done so, and police had declared there was no evidence against her in the case of the 14-year-old boy who was murdered in 1989.
‘Let’s say she killed him…’
However, he said that even though Madikizela-Mandela was innocent of the accusation, the crowd should hypothesise on the gender bias in the situation.
“Let’s say for a second that Winnie Mandela killed Stompie Seipei. Why are they destroying her and saying all sorts of things because of this one child when in exile a lot of people were killed?”
He said in exile “impimpis (informants)… sellouts were taken to a firing squad”.
“They were killed under OR Tambo… Joe Modise under Chris Hani’s watch. They were commanders of uMkhonto weSizwe.”
Yet, he said: “Today they are not saying you must hate OR Tambo because people were killed in the camps in his name.
“Why?” he asked to the crowd.
“Because he is a man; because he is a soldier; because he is a commander – and it is understandable that there will be casualties. But when it happens under a woman, it’s a problem because a woman must not do what is supposed to be done by a man.
“That is patriarchy.
“That is unacceptable.”
‘What about MaKhumalo?’
Malema then turned to his second example.
“They say Winnie Mandela was sleeping with young kids when Mandela was in prison.”
This was “something she has not done”, asserted Malema.
Yet, he suggested, “let’s say she did it”.
Then he pondered: “Who has not done that?”
Malema continued: “When it’s a man sleeping around: ‘no, it’s understandable’… but when it’s a woman: ‘hey, she is useless, she can’t be a leader; she has hurt Mandela’.”
Malema then made reference to Jacob Zuma’s first wife, Gertrude Khumalo.
“What about MaKhumalo: How many times was she hurt?”
Yet, he questioned: “Today Winnie Mandela, who did not put a tyre on anyone, she is not a hero; she must go and burn in hell for something she has not done.”
‘We must protect our own’
Her legacy needed to be protected from this criticism because as “Mother of the Nation”, Madikizela-Mandela had given “birth to the democracy that we have today”, he said.
He said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Bathabile Dlamini could “never” have that title.
When it came to Madikizela-Mandela, however: “We must protect our own”.
“Winnie Mandela is the first powerful revolutionary who is female and an African.”
Malema then asked the crowd to stand for a moment of silence to honour the struggle stalwart.
Madikizela-Mandela died at the age of 81 on Monday in Johannesburg.