Thousands say emotional goodbye to 'Mama Winnie' at funeral service


Tens of thousands of mourners came out in loud cheers as the casket carrying Winnie Mandela's remains was wheeled into the stadium less than two kilometres from her home.

As evidence emerged in the dying years of apartheid of the brutality of her Soweto enforcers, known as the "Mandela United Football Club", some South Africans questioned her "Mother of the Nation" soubriquet. She told how she met Madikizela-Mandela 60 years ago at the Baragwanath Hospital, where they both worked.

He went on to lambast those members of the liberation movement who turned their back on Madikizela-Mandela during some of the darkest periods of her life and praised the individuals and organisations that stood by her. Her reputation was tainted by accusations of human rights violations that seemed sometimes at odds with Mandela's fight for inclusiveness.

The EFF leader addressed thousands of mourners in Soweto before the body was taken to the final resting place.

Similarly, the ANC also prevented the struggle stalwart from speaking at the funeral of late former ANC Youth League president and party NEC member Peter Mokaba, although she was the president of the ANCWL and the league was on the funeral programme that day. Mourners booed when the presence of scandal-tainted Zuma was publicly acknowledged.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his wife Ida flew to South Africa on Friday to attend Winnie's funeral.

The township of Soweto is hugely symbolic in South Africa as it became a crucible of black resistance to white minority rule which ended with elections in 1994.

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Ramaphosa mentioned the traumas that Madikizela-Mandela endured as a goal of the highly effective apartheid state inflicted "deep wounds" that by no means healed - and went largely ignored by many friends.

Typically referred to as the "Mom of the Nation" and "Mama Winnie", Madikizela-Mandela fought to maintain South Africa's anti-apartheid wrestle within the worldwide highlight whereas her husband, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned.

Her daughter referred to a social media campaign that has swept South Africa since her death - "Winnie has not died, she multiplied" - in which young women post pictures of themselves in doeks, the traditional head scarf that Madikizela-Mandela often wore. She appealed and was discovered responsible of being an adjunct within the assault, and the sentence was decreased to a effective and suspended jail time period.

The United Nations staged a special memorial sitting at its NY headquarters on Friday to mark her passing.

She was particularly angered by former police commissioner George Fivaz, who only last week said nothing connected Madikizela-Mandela with the death of Stompie Seipei.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy.