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October 12

Black History Month: the story of Winnie Mandela

As part of Black History Month, the girls of Blackheath High were told the story and legacy of Winnie Mandela.

Even though she was not held in a such high regard as Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela was out in the field fighting for political rights, against a violent state. 

Originally named Winnie Madikizela, she developed a bad reputation because of her unwomanly, military, extra-marital behaviour and outspoken character, because of this, she was often demonised but it never stopped her fighting for black rights until the end of her life. 

For her courage, she remains a revered figure and is still an icon to this day. 

History Teacher & Assistant to the heads of Upper School Mrs A Neilson Nagy said the following: 

'I wanted the students to explore the concept of legacy, especially as she is not held in as much high regard as Nelson Mandela and this is largely because she was out in the field fighting for political rights, where methods had changed to black power, as well as the fact that she was up against a violent state. She was vilified for her unwomanly behaviour and her extra-marital behaviour. This is double standards as far as I am concerned. She is condemned because she is a women.  This is what I wanted students to think about.'

President Ramaphosa pays tribute to Winnie Mandela with the following:

'For many years she bore the brunt of the senseless brutality of the apartheid state with stoicism and fortitude. Despite the hardship she faced she never doubted that the struggle for freedom and democracy would triumph and succeed. She remained throughout her life a tireless advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalised. She was a voice for the voiceless in the coming days. As we mourn the passing of this hero in of armed struggle, let us reflect on her rich remarkable and meaningful life. Let us draw inspiration from the struggles that she fought and the dream of a better society to which she dedicated her entire life.'


Blackheath High School is a leading London school for girls - part of the GDST network.


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