Winnie Madikizela-Mandela opens a Soweto Mandela Day school library

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with the children of Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela Primary School in Braamfischerville, Soweto. (Image supplied)

The room exploded into song, dance and chanting – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had entered the main hall at Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela Primary School in Braamfischerville, Soweto.

Another Mandela Day Library project handover was taking place, this time at the newly built school, named after Madikizela-Mandela, who was born Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela. She married Nelson Mandela in 1958, and they divorced in 1996.

Madikizela-Mandela was immediately surrounded, almost swamped, by the excited children and other well-wishers.

The Mandela Day Library project is a collaborative effort by The Long Walk to Freedom Mandela Bangle initiative, The Long Walk to Freedom clothing brand, Soul City Institute for Social Justice’s Soul Buddyz programme, Rotary International, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Department of Basic Education. It supplies fully stocked container libraries to disadvantaged schools.

Books for Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela Primary School were supplied by books supplier, publisher and manufacturer Qualibooks Naledi.

The children put on a show for an audience that included Mandela Charity Champion Samuel Martin, local councillor Mandla Mlangeni, school governing body chairperson Tshepo Kodisang, Department of Basic Education representative M Tshabalala, HRH Princess Swati Dlamini and HRH Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway. The princesses are Mandela’s granddaughters.

The children doing their recitation. (Image supplied)

Madikizela-Mandela’s personal assistant, Zodwa Zwane, gave an encouraging speech on behalf of Madikizela-Mandela, who spent some time with the children in the library. She also gave a gift of books, and donated a signed copy of her account of her 491 days in solitary confinement under the apartheid-era government, 491 Days: Prisoner Number 1323/69.