South Africa bids farewell to Madikizela-Mandela

South Africa bids farewell to Madikizela-Mandela

Former president Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki were booed when programme director Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula acknowledged their presence, seemingly in reaction to Mbeki's interview last week where he said Madikizela-Mandela shouldn't be credited as an individual for her role in the struggle for freedom.

He also thanked everyone who attended the service in Orlando Stadium, specifically the community of Soweto, which Madikizela-Mandela was a part of.

Earlier on Saturday morning, Gauteng premier David Mahura said in his welcoming to the service that the "truth will triumphantly march forward to tell us who" Madikizela-Mandela was. "We did not do the same for her", Ramaphosa said. Loudly and without apology, she spoke truth to power.

President Ramaphosa described Mrs Madikizela-Mandela as a symbol of resistance who laid bare the edifice of patriarchy.

Foreign dignitaries at the funeral include the leaders of Namibia, Swaziland and the Republic of Congo, as well as American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and worldwide supermodel Naomi Campbell. It seems to have succeeded among many this week, by clearing the dark clouds that still hung over Madikizela-Mandela's head.

Most of their 38-year marriage was spent apart, leaving her to raise their two daughters alone as she kept his political dream alive.

Madikizela Mandela died on April 2 in Johannesburg at the age of 81.

Her body was buried at a privately run graveyard in Johannesburg's upmarket Fourways suburb where two of her great-grand children are also buried.

President Cyril Ramaphosa read out and dedicated Maya Angelo's poem "Still I rise" to Madikizela-Mandela, saying it could easily have been written to the struggle icon. While the pain she endured during the years could not be forgiven, she did not allow it to break her spirit and humanity. In 1977, she was banished to a remote town.

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It took a toll.

He says South Africa was lucky to have Madikizela-Mandela.

EFF leader Julius Malema arrives at the Orlando stadium.

In 1991, a court found Madikizela-Mandela guilty of the boy's kidnapping and assault and sentenced her to six years in jail.

She appealed and was found guilty of being an accessory, and the sentence was reduced to a fine and a suspended prison term. He described Madikizela Mandela as courageous.

"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... and forever the Mother of the Nation".

Also present at the funeral service were former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, dignitaries from African countries and celebrities such as British supermodel Naomi Campbell and US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.

Mandela-Dlamini, her elder daughter, accused the media of being complicit in a long "smear campaign" against her mother.

"Faced with the most heinous of racist and discriminatory regimes, she helped lead the way in showing what it takes to overcome such tyranny: strength, defiance and courage", he said. "It's been clear that South Africa, and really the world, holds men and women to different standards of morality". 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.

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