South Africa Lay Winnie Mandela To Rest

South Africa Lay Winnie Mandela To Rest

Mourners wore black, green and gold - colors of the ruling African National Congress political party.

Mourners filled the 37,500-seater Orlando Stadium in the township of Soweto where Winnie lived and erupted into loud cheers as the casket carrying her remains was wheeled in.

South Africa's liberation struggle icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela was laid to rest on Saturday at Fourways Memorial Park Cemetery in Johannesburg with full military honors.

The former wife of Nelson Mandela died earlier this month at the age of 81.

"It is hard to accept that she is no longer with us", cried her daughter Zenani Dlamini, "because she was always so strong".

"Like women throughout our society do every day, she toiled and never claimed glory". The crowd, which included former presidents Jacob Zuma, Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki, roared in approval.

He added: "Let us honour her memory (Madikizela-Mandela) by pledging here that we will not betray the trust of her people, we will not squander or steal their resources, and that we will serve them diligently and selflessly", Ramaphosa said.

Winnie held different positions in the government including and was appointed deputy Prime Minister of arts, culture, science and technology in 1994. She said the world came to know about Nelson Mandela through the late Madikizela Mandela.

Dlamini-Mandela accused the media of being complicit in a long "smear campaign" against her mother. "Don't think for a minute that we've forgotten", she said.

"Im here to evoke the spirit of the one who put the country first, above her own personal safety, when it was not fashionable to do so".

Ever since we announced that my mother had departed this world, we've been comforted and strengthened in our hour of grief and weakness by your love, your messages, your visitations, and above all your testimonies of what my mother meant to each of you. "We did not do the same for her", Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa, left and the family of Winnie at the Memorial Park
President Ramaphosa, left and the family of Winnie at the Memorial Park

"Praising her now that she has gone displays what hypocrites you have been", she explained during her speech.

"I'm sorry mama that your organisation delayed you in according you its honour".

He conceded that the ANC hasn't been there for her during the tumultuous times. The EFF leader brought the entire stadium (and internet) to a standstill as he delivered his tribute to Mama Winnie. "Zenani's tears revealed Mam' Winnie's wounds", Ramaphosa said.

Madikizela-Mandela's daughter Princesses Zenani Mandela said her mother rose against patriarchy and kept Mandela's memory alive while he was in prison. Hers was a life of compassion. "She protected both from constant assault from apartheid state". "You deserve to be awarded the Speararankoe", he said.

Her anger was echoed by Madikizela-Mandela's adopted political son, Julius Malema. Without the distortions.' It is not two years since I uttered those words and already they're coming true. EFF leaders encouraged their members to act with discipline during the funeral.

ANC politicians such as Gwede Mantashe, David Makhura, Bathabile Dlamini and Jeff Radebe also addressed the funeral that included performances by Thandiswa Mazwai, Zonke and Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse.

Madikizela-Mandela was largely remembered for defiantly standing up to the apartheid government and relentlessly pushing the ANC's struggle for freedom.

"We must continue to touch Ma Winnie's wounds and acknowledge her pain and pass on the story of her suffering so that it may always be known that Ma Winnie was a giant, a pathfinder and a healer". It is hard to accept that she is no longer with us. "The same one who sold you out", asked Malema. She was one of the people.

Family members, President Cyril Ramaphosa and dignitaries walk beside the casket of the late stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as it is led out of Orlando stadium.

Many memorialising Madikizela-Mandela have recognised her as a political force in her own right. South Africans stood by the road side as the funeral procession proceeded to the stadium. When we could not be with her, she wrote letters to us. She inspires our actions.

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