More than 37 000 mourners including family, friends, heads of states, ordinary South Africans, distinctive political parties, government officials gathered at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday to pay tribute to struggle icon, Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela.
Madikizela-Mandela (81) was regarded as a unifier, a fighter and an extraordinary pioneer of the country who talked truth to the power.
She has been described as true people’s servant, faithful, soldier and uncompromising lobbyist, equality, and fairness.
Speaking during her burial service President Cyril Ramaphosa called on South Africans to respect the memory of Mama Winnie.
Ramaphosa said during the dark days of the struggle, Madikizela-Mandela felt compelled to pick the spear where it had fallen.
“It was a spear that, all through the darkest snapshots of our struggle, she used with awesome fearlessness, unequivocal responsibility, and fantastic expertise,” he said.
Dignitaries who went to the memorial service to pay their last respect were former Presidents Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso and Namibian President Hage Geingo.
Madikizela-Mandela’s friend, supermodel, singer and performing artist Naomi Campbell was also in attendance.
“Mama Winnie taught us to overcome our fears. She stood tall, constantly next to her community,” she said.
Mama Madikizela-Mandela daughters Zenani Mandela-Dlamini and Zindzi Mandela also paid tribute to their mom.
EFF leader Julius Malema made a stunning disclosure to thousands of mourners who filled the stadium.
“Mama, some the people who sold you are here, funny are they crying the loudest more than some of us. The UDF cabal who sold you and repudiated you and sent you to the apartheid regime is here,” said Malema.
Some members of the red beret left the stadium after Malema spoke.
Minister in the Presidency for Women and ANC Women’s League President, Minister Bathabile Dlamini portrayed Mama Winnie as a lioness who comprehended what she was doing, ensuring the feeble and fighting for poor people, not at all like the lion which tends to its stomach, qualities and blood.
Former Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, who conveyed a tribute on behalf of the African National Congress, said Mama Madikizela-Mandela was bold.
He said the government was in process of actualizing free education, something she had fought for.
Madikizela-Mandela was buried at Fourways Memorial Park.
She passed away on April 2 at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.