SA has lost a leader

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Speaker after speaker at Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's official memorial service have paid homage to her unrelenting fighting spirit, which earned her the title of Mother of the Nation.

Mandela family representative, Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, on Wednesday said  South Africa has lost a negotiator and leader in struggle heroine Mama Winnie.

Speaking at the memorial service at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Chief Matanzima said Madikizela-Mandela demonstrated leadership even at home. 

“We’ve lost a negotiator and a leader,” said Chief Matanzima of Madikizela-Mandela, who passed on 2 April, following a long illness. 

Chief Matanzima said Mama Winnie, while engaged in the struggle for a democratic South Africa, did not forget that she was a mother and raised her children. 

“She took the responsibility and raised her children, despite the difficulties. As a family, we salute her. We thank her for raising her children,” he said.

Chief Matanzima thanked South Africans for the support the Mandela family had received from the public since her passing at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg. 

“We thank all South Africans who prayed for us. We received a lot of support. When you have a bereavement, you look for genuine support,” he said, adding that the family had received genuine support from ordinary South Africans and political parties.

Referring to Madikizela-Mandela as “Big Mommy”, Bambatha Mandela told the crowd about the last Sunday he shared with his grandmother at her home in Soweto before she was taken to hospital later that night.

Bambatha, Zindzi Mandela’s son, was raised by Madikizela-Mandela and former President Mandela. 

He described her as someone who gave him courage and guided him. 

“We have lost an extraordinary woman,” he said. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a Special Official Funeral Category 1 for the stalwart. Since news of Mama Winnie broke, South Africans and the ambassadors of various countries have visited the Madikizela-Mandela family in Soweto to pay their respects. 

Close family friend, Rita Ndzanga, recalled a time when she and the late Madikizela-Mandela participated in protests against pass laws. “I have come a long way with her,” said the elderly Ndzanga.

Representative of the Madikizela family, Nomasonto, said Mama Winnie was active in politics from a young age.  “We will remember her. She was beautiful on the outside and inside,” she said.

The memorial service will be addressed by Deputy President David Mabuza shortly.

Madikizela-Mandela will be buried on Saturday. –

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