Winnie Mandela funeral: South Africa bids farewell to 'mother of the nation'

15 April, 2018, 01:00 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Members of the South African military carry the coffin of long-time activist Winnie Mandela who was laid to rest in a state funeral

Ramaphosa said, "We must continue to touch Mama's wounds, acknowledge her enormous pain and torment, and pass on the stories of her suffering to future generations so that it may always be known that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was a giant, a pathfinder, a soldier, a healer, a champion of people's struggles and forever the Mother of the Nation".

"I'm sorry, Mama, that your organisation delayed in according you its honour, to this point in time and moment". I know that she would be very proud of each of you, and grateful for your acts of personal courage: for joining hands in the #IAmWinnie movement, wearing your doeks and bravely mounting a narrative that counters the one that had become, to our profound dismay, my mother's public story over the last twenty-five years of her life. "We could have told her the praises while she was alive", Zezani said.

Mourners sang and cheered as Madikizela-Mandela's body was brought into the Orlando stadium where the funeral service was taking place. "Too often we were not there for her as she tried to rise", he said.

"And to those who've vilified my mother through books, on social media and speeches, don't for a minute think we've forgotten", she said, flanked by her sister Zindziswa Mandela-Hlongwane.

She also questioned why men in the struggle weren't subjected to the same scrutiny, and said, "double standards obscure the huge efforts of women" in the struggle.

They were accused of the disappearances and killings of at least 18 boys and young men and the group's leader was convicted of killing a 14-year-old boy, nicknamed "Stompie", who was accused of being a police informer. And it was those in power who, insecure and fearful, visited upon her the most vindictive and callous retribution.

"She never stopped fighting".

Also present at the service were South Africa's former presidents, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, as well as foreign dignitaries from Kenya, Namibia and Lesotho.




As her mother would.

Thousands of mourners packed a 40,000-seat stadium to celebrate the powerful figure who was buried as a national hero, after lively debate over how she should be remembered after her death on April 2 at age 81.

He said Madikizela Mandela provided leadership at the most hard time and never demanded a reward.

Ramaphosa, who had been promised to be taken to Marikana by Madikizela-Mandela to formally apologise to the widows of the 34 miners who were killed, said that although she passed on before it could happen, he would honour her wishes.

She would find her way to the limelight again in 1996 following her divorce that marked the end of her 38 year old union with Nelson Mandela.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Soweto on Friday to see the funeral procession of Winnie Mandela ahead of her final send-off this weekend. Apartheid authorities sought to denigrate her with bitter and twisted lies, but still she rose.

"Yet, throughout, she endured". However, the tribute from the EFF's commander in chief Julius Malema, drew some of the loudest applause from the crowd. She was a witness to the truths and horrors of our nation, not only because of her own hardships but because of her courage.

Isithwalandwe, which literally means "the one who wears the plumes of the rare bird" was traditionally bestowed only on the bravest warriors and those who distinguished themselves in the eyes of all the people for exceptional qualities of leadership and heroism.

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