Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

South Africa's Mother of the Nation laid to rest in state funeral

South Africa's Mother of the Nation laid to rest in state funeral

Former Presidents Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe as well Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso and Namibian President Hage Geingob were among the dignitaries who attended the funeral to pay their final respects.

Thousands of mourners gathered in South Africa's Soweto township to bid farewell to anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela this morning, in a funeral ceremony that united the nation as people from various political divides celebrated her life.

The ANC has launched walls of remembrance to celebrate her life, led by its secretary general, Ace Magashule and the artistic painting will be done all around the country.

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 global supermodel Naomi Campbell. "They wanted to see her broken, with bowed head and lowered eyes, and weakened by soulful cries, but still she rose", he said as he delivered the eulogy for Madikizela-Mandela. "She cherished freedom as much as she treasured family".

For years, she was routinely harassed by apartheid-state security forces, imprisoned and tortured.

- President Cyril RamaphosaShe felt compelled to organise, to mobilise, to lead when those who led our people had been sent across the bay to the Island, whilst others were forced to flee beyond our borders or were martyred by a state that knew no mercy. She died on Monday, April 2, at the age of 81.

As her mother would. But because she had such a big heart, my mother could also love the community where she lived, no matter where that was. "We did not do exactly the same for her", he said.

Most of the 38-year long marriage was spent living apart with Winnie left alone to raise their children.

The film was aired on local television channels and in public screenings in part as a response to the unflattering coverage Madikizela-Mandela's legacy received in the immediate aftermath of her death.

"The battle for our freedom wasn't some polite picnic to which you came armed with your best behaviour".

At the time of Madikizela-Mandela's death, the longtime stalwart of the ruling party was a member of South Africa's parliament. "Zenani's tears revealed Mam' Winnie's wounds", Ramaphosa said.

Mourners broke into another liberation song chanting in Xhosa: "this is the Winnie we know".

Instead, she emerged from these torments emboldened, driven by a burning desire to give voice to the aspirations of her people.

She said Madikizela Mandela suffered at the brutality of the Apartheid government and humiliation.

Mandela-Dlamini, her older daughter accused the press to be complicit at an extended "smear campaign" in opposition to her mommy.

Outside Africa, she was known largely because of her one-time husband, but in South Africa she was the mouthpiece and face of the bitter struggle against the racist regime.

"They are crying the loudest, more than us who died for you", he said, also calling for Cape Town International Airport to be renamed for Madikizela-Mandela.

Namibian President Hage Geingob praised the late Mother of the Nation for her determination and for never surrendering while being persecuted by the enemy. She has been found guilty of being an accessory from the attack, and also also the sentence had been reduced to some nice and jail term.

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