Makerere University has awarded champion of freedom and equal rights in South Africa, Winnie Mandela a Honorary Degree for her role in the struggle against the apartheid regime by the whites.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela who was also wife to South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela was among those that received Degrees on the last day of Makerere University’s 68th graduation ceremony on Friday.
She was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Laws which was received by her niece. The university recognized Winnie Mandela for the bravery with which she fought the maltreatment and harassment by the oppressive apartheid administration between 1960 and 1990.
The citation read by the University Chancellor, Dr Ezra Suruma stated; “She [Winnie] bravely withstood constant harassment by the apartheid police and challenged their brutality at every turn. She became a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle and of the bravery and determination of the oppressed to gain their freedom, against all odds”.
She was congratulated by President Yoweri Museveni in a message delivered by Minister of Public Service, Muruli Mukasa.
“To my friend Mrs. Winnie Madikizela Mandela, and the entire Mandela family, I congratulate you upon this well-deserved award, the honorary doctorate of laws of Makerere University,” President Museveni said.
“The Mandela family was very instrumental in the liberation of South Africa and the entire African continent. They gave their all for Africa. They have no debt with Africa,” the President added.
Museveni commended the contribution of both Winnie and her husband, Mandela to the achievement of emancipation, democracy and economic integration for the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
South African high commissioner to Uganda, Prof Maj Gen (Rtd) Lekoa Solly Mollo was present at the event held in the Freedom Square at the main campus.
Born in Bizana, in the Transkei, South Africa in 1936, Winnie Mandela’s political activism became more vivid after her husband’s imprisonment in 1964 as she carried on the resistance against the marginalization of white South Africans.
Winnie was frequently detained, tortured, subjected to house arrest, kept under surveillance, held in solitary confinement for over a year and at some point, banished to a remote town of Bradfort.
In 1969, she spent eighteen months in solitary confinement at Pretoria Central Prison but despite this brutal treatment, Winnie was relentless in campaigning for equal rights.