Courtesy of Global Information Network
Courtesy of Global Information Network

The modest home of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Brandfort, Free State, where she was forced to live when banished in 1977, has become a museum.

The Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Brandfort House Museum in Majwemasweu, Brandfort, is now complete, the national Department of Sports, Arts and Culture announced this week.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa promised it would also serve as a multipurpose center with Wi-Fi facilities and parking spaces for tourists.

The struggle icon was banished to the town in May 1977 by the apartheid government. Madikizela-Mandela lived here with her youngest daughter, Zindzi, for eight years.

The ailing anti-apartheid struggle icon died in a hospital on April 2, 2018. She was 81.

Twenty-four-hour security services have been put in place by the Lejweleputswa District Municipality to guard this national asset.

“At this stage, the department is in the process of procuring expertise to collect artifacts and curate an exhibition. After the collection of the artifacts and installation of the exhibition material, the museum will be officially opened,” said department spokesperson Asanda Magaqa. “Winnie Madikizela-Mandela House will now be part of the prized national monuments and sites that fall under the resistance and liberation heritage route program — one of the premier departmental mandates to preserve and promote the legacies of our heroes and heroines as an integral part of our cultural heritage.”

Initially, the construction of this museum was mired in scandal and controversy. In 2012, $208,000 was allocated to the Free State Independent Development Trust (IDT) but the money “disappeared.”

According to the news website News24, “an audit report commissioned by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) found that nearly R600 000 paid to two contractors for the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Museum project in the Free State amounted to ‘fruitless expenditure.”

The new contractors responsible for the project are expected to restore the dwelling and the bombed clinic, converting them into interpretative spaces.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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