TELL THEM: For the Nation of Winnie’s Children

By Siki Dlanga


When they refuse to mention her name

among the greatest warriors that ever were.

When you see them side-line her;

tainting her with titles

more fitting on them.


When they write her off as a murderer;

rather than the greatest protector of your people.

When they say that she killed a child,

when you know that she fought off their bullets

with her bare body bleeding,


the children of the nation.


Tell them that you know what they did to their Joan of Arc.

Tell them that if she was not, they would not have their Nelson to deify.

Tell them that she confronted their guns with nothing but her fury and said


Tell them that she was framed as an uncontrollable violent woman because

with all their armies of police,

with all their scores of spies,

with all their spin doctors,

with all their guns pointed at her,

Winnie defeated them.


Tell them that they failed to diminish her mission, they multiplied it.

Tell them that they failed, and Winnie won.


Tell them that they bought journalists to invent a witch for them to burn in public.

Tell them that she has been publicly tried and humiliated, but she was not destroyed.

Tell them that she was more than a general,

Tell them – she was an army.


Tell them that her God-given superpower was simply that

she was a black woman.


They thought that was a curse.

They thought it was something to be downtrodden.

They thought it meant to be nothing.

They thought a lot of things that meant nothing.

She was a black woman,
a phenomenon.


9 April 2018


What Samuel L. Jackson got out of “Get Out”

Samuel L. Jackson is crying about what South African actors have been crying about since the end of apartheid. We want to be the ones who tell our own stories. 
When I see Idris playing Nelson Mandela, honestly, I am not overjoyed because I prefer Sello ka Ncume to be playing Mandela. I think Sello would have been spectacular. I thought Idris was okay. Sello would not merely act a part but he would be telling his own story as a SAn. 
Jennifer Hudson acted Winnie Mandela and that film was basically sabotaged in SA because we want to act our own heroes and tell our own stories. 
Well, Winnie was also trying to sue them because they did not have the decency to request her permission for the use of her story while she was alive. 

To a degree though I can imagine that for an audience outside of South Africa, if Denzel plays Biko for example in Cry Freedom, the American audience find an access point to our story through the actor that comes from their context. And to some degree they are telling the story from their own perspective, experience and using their own money to tell it. 
It is also their story because they were part of the liberation story protesting to Free Mandela far away from what our eyes could see. Maybe if we knew that we would have been more tolerant.
Yes Samuel L. Jackson is being attacked but he is saying nothing new. South African actors have been saying that for the last two decades. I’m not saying we should not act each other’s parts but there are sacred parts of our stories that need to be told with sensitivity. That sensitivity includes how you pronounce some words. It expressing certain nuances of the culture you are portraying. You do not want to insult the people whose stories you are telling.
I have not seen “Get Out” yet but I absolutely love the confidence of that Brit actor. I feel that the fact that he is not as affected by racism because of where he comes from makes the story more effective. What he hasn’t experienced in this regard adds a character that mocks racism. He makes the story great and I’m saying that just from watching the trailor.

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