South Africa's Mother of the Nation laid to rest in state funeral

Steve Phelps
April 15, 2018

While the funeral service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is still ongoing on Saturday afternoon, the highlight of the day so far has come from none other than Julius Malema.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy before the funeral procession leaves for Fourways Memorial Park for the private burial.

Family and friends wept as a military band played and the casket was lowered into the ground. My sister and I are doubly lucky, in that we got to call Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela our mother and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela our father. "As president, I will propose that we award you the highest order of our movement, you richly deserve to be awarded", Mr Ramaphosa said.

The president said Madikizela-Mandela might have died but she was not gone, as she lived in the poor girl who still walks the dusty streets, in the domestic worker still fighting for the rights of her children and the prisoner who regretted his choices. She was persecuted by the government and suffered imprisonment, torture and banishment as she was the strongest ANC voice within the country during the struggle. "As we continue to touch her wounds, we must be courageous enough to share her life and legacy across our society and with the people she loved", he said.

And he recited Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise".

".We gather here not only to pay our final respects to a great African woman‚ but to affirm the common humanity that‚ through her life‚ she revealed in us".

As the world-and particularly the media, which is so directly complicit in the smear campaign against my mother-took notice of your acts of resistance, so too did this narrative begin to change.

"Praising her now shows us what hypocrites you are!"

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Over the past week and a half it's become clear that South Africa, and indeed the world, holds men and women to different standards of morality.

The official funeral service for the ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela took place in Soweto - a Johannesburg township at the forefront of the battle against apartheid where she lived. Others wore T-shirts emblazoned with an image of Madikizela-Mandela.

At the time of Madikizela-Mandela's death, the longtime stalwart of the ruling party was a member of South Africa's parliament.

He mentioned the United Democratic Front distancing itself from Madikizela-Mandela over the killing of teenager Stompie Seipei, the ANC Women's League national executive committee members who resigned en-masse after the struggle hero was convicted of fraud and theft, saying that they claimed they could not be led by a criminal.

Since Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's death was announced on 2 of April, the news has been met by an outpouring of emotion across the country, with the ANC declaring 10 days of national mourning in remembrance of her courage in the struggle to end white-minority rule.

Tens of thousands of mourners at Orlando Stadium rose to bid farewell to the Mother of the Nation. "We must continue to touch Mama's wounds, acknowledge her vast 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... and forever the Mother of the Nation".

"I am here not so much to bury Mama, because Queen Mothers do not die, they multiply into a million red flowers of love and freedom."
"She fought from beginning to the end".

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