Lerato Mailoane and SA News
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to honour the memory of the late struggle icon, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, by uniting in a common purpose to heal the divisions of the past and eradicate inequality.
“Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will dedicate all our resources, all our efforts, all our energy to the empowerment of the poor and vulnerable.
“Let us honour her memory 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,” said President Ramaphosa.
He said Mama Winnie has died, but she is not gone.
“She lives on in the nation that called her ‘Mama’, as it strives each day to fulfil its destiny as a united, peaceful, prosperous and just society.”
Orlando Stadium in Soweto was on Saturday filled by mourners who came to bid farewell to the woman affectionately known as the “Mother of the Nation”.
Former Presidents Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe as well Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Namibian President Hage Geingob were among the dignitaries who attended the funeral to pay their final respects.
The President described her as an African woman who – in her attitude, words and actions – defied the very premise of apartheid ideology and male superiority.
“Proud, defiant, articulate, she exposed the lie of apartheid. She challenged the attitudes, norms, practices and social institutions that perpetuated – in ways both brutal and subtle – the inferior status of women. Loudly and without apology, she spoke truth to power,” he said.
Those in power were insecure and fearful of her.
“Yet, through everything, she endured. They could not break her. They could not silence her. They miscalculated greatly because in truth, they sent her to live among her people – to share in their trials, tribulations and hardships, to share their hopes and aspirations, and to draw courage from their daily struggle against the tyranny of racial subjugation.
Namibian President Geingob said he had come to mourn and celebrate the life of Madikizela-Mandela, who remained rooted in her people.
“The enemy striked a woman but was defeated by the rock,” President Geingob said.
Welcoming those who travelled from near and far to the funeral of Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said: “On behalf of the people Gauteng, I convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of Mandela and Madikizela
In a heartfelt speech, Makhura said the passing of Madikizela-Mandela has left the country with mixed emotions.
Madikizela-Mandela had an authentic voice in the people’s war against apartheid.
Makhura spoke harshly against those who tried to portray, Mandela as a monster. We should rather think of the words of Dr Marin Luther King Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man (person) is not where she/ he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where she/ he stands in times of challenge and controversy”.
Mama Winnie personified the true meaning of the phrase “Speaking Truth to Power” from the beginning to the end. She was never silent in times of challenge and controversy. Even as she lies here in her mortal state, she refuses to be silent.
“The apartheid regime could not crush her; death has not defeated her. Mama Winnie has not die, she has multiplied,” Premier Makhura said.