Nomzamo Mbatha on Mama Winnie’s death: “I was broken”

2018-04-06 17:00
 ~ PHOTO: Nomzamo Mbatha Instagram

As South Africa mourns the death of struggle hero Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (81), many prepare to gather at the Newtown Music factory in Johannesburg tonight to pay their respects to the mother of the nation.

Performing at the gathering titled ‘All Black for Winnie’  is internationally recognised actress Nomzamo Mbatha who’ll  take on the role of the late Mam’ Winnie with Thuso Mbedu playing the role of Winnie’s oldest daughter Zindzi Mandela in a play prepared for the tribute.

Nomzamo says the tribute to Mam’ Winnie is very emotional for her and she is praying for strength in order to see the presentation through without breaking down. “I prayed to try God to help me not to break down on that stage and to remember mama and her voice,”

Nomzamo says every encounter with Winnie was special. “Her aura, her ability to bring strength, her resilience, and fearlessness when walking into a room – even on a bad day when you are down – a close encounter with her made you believe that you will be alright.”

Winnie passed away on Monday before Nomzamo Mbatha’s accountancy degree graduation ceremony at the University of Cape Town. After hearing the news of Winnie’s passing Nomzamo says she nearly did not attend her graduation because she was too emotional. “I was broken but then I realised that I had to attend my graduation because women like her left a legacy for me. She is the reason I can get an education and go to any university in the world.”

 At her graduation ceremony, Nomzamo says she was grateful and honoured to stand on that stage to pay tribute to Mam’ Winnie. “It was a gut-wrenching moment and I hope wherever she is; she heard my cry on that stage coming from the bottom of my belly saying to her that, we see you and you are still with us forever.” 

Nomzamo says she was close to Winnie and it’s not only a loss to her but to the entire nation. “It is a huge loss to the nation; anyone who knows me knows that I hold uMama (Winnie Mandela) so dear to my heart. I was broken when the news came out.” The actress says the feeling reminded her of all the family members she had lost.

“The moment and her death brought back memories; my grandmother was a lioness; she is the reason I am the way I am today. She raised me, she loved me fearlessly. My father was an amazing man – who was the best guy that I knew and always pushed for education and I knew If I had dropped out of university and not gone back, wherever he is he would have looked at me and said: “but sis?” Nomzamo says her baby sister Clara who committed suicide in 2014 was the reason for her putting the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) helpline on her dress. “Putting that suicide, depression and anxiety line was to say ‘black child you don’t have to suffer in darkness.’ If you can’t afford help; there are toll-free lines to help you.” Nomzamo says she is an advocate of change and it’s her calling to bring awareness about depression, anxiety, and especially suicide. “I wanted to honour my familys’ memory, “she says. Nomzamo says she was glad she managed to be brave enough to do that and she wants to be brave when she gets on the stage to honour Mam Winnie.

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