A proposal by the Economic Freedom Fighters to name Cape Town International Airport after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela made for passionate debate in the National Assembly today, with the ruling ANC lending it only conditional support though she remains one of its most emblematic figures.
EFF leader Julius Malema argued that naming the airport, that carried the name of apartheid architect DF Malan for decades, after Nelson Mandela’s second wife would correct a false narrative that men alone waged and won the liberation struggle against race-based rule. “It will liberate us from the false narrative that only men liberated us… to do this we have to start with Winnie Mandela,” Mandela said.
He added that she was brave enough to continue to chant the name of the then-banned African National Congress when doing so meant risking jail and became a “towering figure” to whom South Africans from all walks of life related. ANC MP Dikeledi Magadzi, the chair of the portfolio committee on transport, cautioned the EFF on populism.
“The ANC supports the idea of name changes but we must follow the necessary steps,” she said. “We should not be populist.
We must not use our heroines and struggle icons as an electioneering tool – we must never do that.