Sisonke Msimang: The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela

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‘With razor-sharp insight, Msimang writes in a reflective tone that contains both heartbreak and humour, as she navigates some often-overlooked complexities surrounding race, womanhood and class.’ – Cher Tan, Books and Publishing

Just some of the words that come to mind when thinking of Sisonke Msimang’s second book ‘The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela’

Written in response to her passing of Winnie Mandela, Sisonke’s book is haunting and inspiring.

In answering the question of redemption as it comes to iconic, powerful Black womxn, Sisonke is also asking the reader questions on our morality.

The book written in the second person contextualises Winnie Mandela’s life from before she was born to when she died. Sisonke skillfully and poetically converses with Winnie by reclaiming her and celebrating her. She writes about how Winnie encounter powerful womxn upon arriving in Joburg dispelling the myth that Winnie became political because of Nelson. She writes about the moment Winnie saw Nelson, their love – showing us that theirs was a deep, profound love.

Further, in the book, she writes about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and how Winnie was treated at this Commission, this allows us to question the true nature of the TRC and whether it was about truth. In the same breath, she holds Winnie to account by writing about the deaths of the 18 boys that Winnie may have been involved in. In this, she demands of us to hold Winnie to account for these deaths and to take some ownership in the passing of these boys. She writes about the mothers of these children and how they came head to head with Winnie demanding the truth.

In this book, Sisonke encourages us to use Winnie’s life to think about nation-building and Blackwomxnhood. It’s a powerful conversation about reclaiming our heroes.

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1 thought on “Sisonke Msimang: The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela

  1. I really enjoyed this episode. It made me appreciate Sisonke’s words even more, I’ll definitely be re-reading it. I loved it when she said “she [Winnie] is our best selves”. And the conversation around the freezing of only a part of who Mama Winnie is and how we then choose to see her only in that way and how Sisonke breaks that narrative. I really enjoyed it.

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