African leaders urged to emulate, sustain Winnie Mandela’s legacies

A trade unionist in Africa, Comrade Issa Aremu, has urged African leaders to immortalise the late Winnie Madikizela Mandela, and sustain the legacies of the antiapartheid freedom fighter. Winnie Mandela, former wife of Nelson Mandela, died recently at the age of 81 in South Africa and was laid to rest at a massively attended funeral last weekend in her hometown of Soweto.

Addressing the 8th African Regional Executive Committee meeting, in Dakar, Senegal last Thursday, the Vice President (Africa) of the Geneva-based Industriall Global Union, Aremu, said “sustaining the legacies of Winnie Mandela amounts to throwing apartheid permanently into the dust-bin of history, failing which Africa risks resurrection of the evil of apartheid which Winnie courageously confronted at immeasurable costs.”

The Nigerian Labour leader, who is also NEC member of NLC, described the iconic heroine of South African liberation as “the mother of the modern democratic South African nation and the continent, Africa! Together with her late husband, Nelson Mandela, Winnie epitomised remarkable sacrifices for the freedom of all of us against the tyranny of apartheid.” The labour leader urged trade unionists especially female unionists in Africa to “learn from the leadership example of Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela,” adding that as a stateswoman, “she was labour friendly, a working class stalwart who favoured minimum wage and decent work for the workers.”

“She combined rare multiple roles of a woman: a mother, grandmother, freedom fighter, party organiser and a parliamentarian among others. She was a good woman who exhibited unconditional love for others.” Aremu hailed what he called consolidation of democratic process in Africa citing “the new development in Zimbabwe and successful swearing-in of President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as the 5th President of the Republic of South Africa following the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma.”

“I hauled Senegal as a symbol of Democracy in Africa, while many countries in the West Africa sub-region had witnessed antidemocratic military coups; Senegal has always been governed by constitutionalism.” On the controversial African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) recently signed by 44 African countries, Aremu urged all African leaders to “show the proof that AfCFTA is not another top-down deal signed behind the legitimate aspirations of African peoples for a commonwealth, not just common market.”

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