South Africa celebrates Winnie Mandela at memorial service

South Africa celebrates Winnie Mandela at memorial service

South Africa celebrates Winnie Mandela at memorial service

Although 76-year-old Mary Zwane has an injured knee and Mrs Evelyn Matshepo is on crutches, both women were determined to remember Winnie Madikizela Mandela at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.

She was one of the country's greatest icons in the struggle against apartheid.

Winnie was not afraid of police, and confronted them head on, daring them to shoot, the family friend explained.

"To honour the memory of this big icon, the ANC encourages the masses of our people throughout the country to work their land in their yards, schools and villages and to produce their own food in honour of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela". President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a eulogy on Tuesday at the Eastern Cape official memorial service in Madikizela-Mandela's home village of Mbizana.

In the week since her death in a Johannesburg hospital, there has been a surge of support for a woman whose fearlessness and defiance helped bring end to apartheid but whose public image was tarnished by controversy.

The crowd exuded a mixed mood of celebration and grief, and grandchild after grandchild took to the podium.

In 1991, a court found Madikizela-Mandela guilty of the boy's kidnapping and assault and sentenced her to six years in jail. "The spear has fallen", he said.

A memorial was also held in the town of Brandfort where Winnie Mandela was kept under house arrest for eight years.

"In life and death you remain unbreakable", David Mabuza, South Africa's Deputy President said at the memorial service.

"We all came to celebrate the life of Mama Winnie", said Motswone.

"I come to Orlando Stadium to work every time there is an event here, including soccer matches".

She said Madikizela-Mandela never turned a child away and also did not abandon her own family.

Mr Winky Boy recalled how he was in Jabulani Stadium when Zizi Mandela read a letter from her father, former president Nelson Mandela, acknowledging his receipt of the Nobel peace prize in 1985 at a UDF rally. "A daughter-in-law is not allowed to walk towards the kraal‚ greet elderly men in the family‚ or make eye contact as a sign of respect‚" she said.

Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa, who came in his capacity as the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Bene M'Poko, said "Mama Winnie" was very unique in that from a very young age, she sacrificed everything to fight a war, one that was extremely hard.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma reported that government has since declared days of mourning from 3 April 2018 leading up to the funeral on Saturday, 14 April 2018. "Being the first grandchild, she and grandfather [Nelson Mandela] were able to raise me upon his release from prison", he said.

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