The late Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela insisted that if a statue were to be erected in her honour, it would have to be in Soweto and not Sandton.
Three years before her death in April, she had already identified a koppie next to her home in Orlando West where a gigantic statue would stand.
Now her wish looks to be fulfilled with a number of initiatives to honour her already on the cards. While her foundation and those who worked closely with her are making plans for the statue to become reality, the City of Johannesburg is working on its own plans.
An insider in the city said: “The idea is to honour Mam Winnie in a very big way hence it was felt that renaming the FNB Stadium would be befitting.”
Former television presenter Lunga Williams, who was close to Madikizela-Mandela, told Sowetan she was adamant that a statue in her memory would have to be erected in the township where she spent most of her adult life.
“Mama even wanted her statue to be erected at the koppie next to her Soweto home… she didn’t want it in Sandton.”
Williams said the plans began three years ago and Madikizela-Mandela even identified the spot.
Other plans include the building of a bridge, in her honour, linking Orlando East and Orlando West in Soweto.
Williams said he and others were also working on rolling out postage stamps bearing her face and were waiting for the three-month mourning period to end.
Sowetan can reveal that the City of Johannesburg is also pushing ahead with its plans to honour her, with a community development committee tasked to look at ways the city can pay homage.
Some of the proposals included rolling out special commemorative coins and renaming the well-known 50-storey inner-city skyscraper Carlton Centre after the “Mother of the Nation”.
In April, the city adopted a motion for Madikizela-Mandela to be conferred with the freedom of the city posthumously. Previous recipients of this honour include her late husband and former president Nelson Mandela, the late Joe Slovo (posthumously) and Ahmed Kathrada.
The city also approved renaming its R280m calabash-shaped council chambers after her – pending public participation and consultation.
Council speaker Vasco da Gama’s spokesperson Lillian Kolisang said arrangements for the conferment were at an advanced stage.
Kolisang said no decision had been taken on the erection of a statue but all suggestions were still being considered.
“Many suggestions have been made, however, there is no concrete plan yet… this process is ongoing. There is no official document such as a council resolution yet for a statue or a bridge to be built,” Kolisang said.