(back) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Page 2 of a 2 page letter written by Mandela to his daughters Zenani and Zindzi when their mother, Winnie Madikezela Mandela was detained.
Description: Page 2 of a 2 page letter written by Mandela to his daughters Zenani and Zindzi when their mother, Winnie Madikezela Mandela was detained.
Transcript: Worker and at the time of our marriage in June 1958 she had a good and comfortable job at the Baragwanath Hospital. She was working there when she was arrested for the first time and at the end of 1958 she lost that job. Later she worked for the Child Welfare Society in town, a post she liked very much. It was whilst working there that the Government ordered her not to leave Johannesburg, to remain at home from 6pm to 6am, and not to attend meetings, nor enter any hospital, school, university, courtroom, compound or hostel, or any African township save Orlando where she lived. This order made it difficult for her to continue with her work at the Child Welfare Society and she lost this particular job as well.
Since then Mummy has lived a painful life and had to try to run a home without a fixed income. Yet she somehow managed to buy you food and clothing, pay your school fees, rent for the house and to send me money regularly.
I left home in April 1961 when Zeni was two years and Zindzi three months. Early in January 1962 I toured Africa and visited London for ten days, and returned to South Africa towards the end of July the same year. I was terribly shaken when I met Mummy. I had left her in good health with a lot of flesh and colour. But she had suddenly lost weight and was now a shadow of her former self. I realised at once the strain my absence had caused her. I look forward to some time when I would be able to tell her about my journey, the countries I visited and the people I met. But my arrest on August 5 put an end to that dream.
When Mummy was arrested in 1958 I visited her daily and brought her food and fruits. I felt proud of her especially because the decision to join the other women in demonstrating against the passes was taken by her freely without any suggestion from me. But her attitude to my own arrest made me know Mummy better and more fully. Immediately I was arrested our friends here and abroad offered her scholarships and suggested that she leave the country to study overseas. I welcomed these suggestions as I felt that studies would keep her mind away from her troubles. I discussed the matter with her when she visited me in Pretoria Jail in October 1962. She told me that although she would most probably be arrested and sent to jail, as every politician fighting for freedom must expect, she would nevertheless remain in the country and suffer with her people. Do you see now what a brave Mummy we have?
Do not worry, my darlings, we have a lot of friends; they will look after you, and one day Mummy & Daddy will return and you will no longer be orphans without a home. Then we will also live peacefully and happily as all normal families do. In the meantime you must study hard and pass your examinations, and behave like good girls. Mummy and I will write to you many letters. I hope you got the Christmas card I sent you in December and the letter I wrote both of you on February 4 this year.
With lots of love and a million kisses.
Misses Zeni & Zindzi Mandela
C/o Mrs Iris Niki Xaba
PO Box 23
Extent and Medium: 1 handwritten page, foolscap size