South Africa's anti-apartheid heroine Winnie Mandela to be laid to rest

South Africa's anti-apartheid heroine Winnie Mandela to be laid to rest

Her remains, in the casket draped with the multi-coloured South African flag, was placed in the middle of the 37,500-seater stadium in front of a stage, decked in white and yellow flowers. Recalling a recent conversation with her daughter Zenani Dlamini, he said she cried when she said her mother had lived a hard life.

"It was my mother who kept his (Nelson Mandela's) memory alive", said a teary Zenani.

"Over the past week and a half it's become clear that South Africa, and indeed the world, holds men and women to different standards of morality", said Mandela-Dlamini.

"Like her, you show that we can be handsome, powerful and revolutionary, even as we challenge the lies that have been peddled for so long", she said, referring to her mother being sidelined by the ANC and much of society for her radicalism. Because anyone who reads that book grasps just how much my mother dedicated her life to the struggle for a free South Africa.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took office two months ago, is leading the mourners at the pre-burial service in Soweto's Orlando stadium.

Ramaphosa says that Winnie's life was dedicated to the African people, and revolved around service to her people.

ANC supporters made up most of the crowd at the packed Orlando Stadium, but a significant number of EFF supporters attended the funeral.

"Our sister [Winnie Madikizela-Mandela] is proof that we are capable of being revolutionaries. 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. Yet, through everything, she endured.

Also present at the funeral service were former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, dignitaries from African countries and celebrities such as British supermodel Naomi Campbell and USA civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. Mourners booed when the presence of scandal-tainted Zuma was publicly acknowledged.

"In death, she has demonstrated that our many differences along political party and racial lines and the numerous disputes we may have are eclipsed by our shared desire to follow her lead in building a just, equitable and caring society", he said. But she touched our wounds all the time.

For husband and wife, it was a crowning moment that led four years later to the end of centuries of white domination when Mandela became South Africa's first black president. That she herself learned to fight from Winnie Mandela. In 1993 she was elected president of African Nationa Congress (ANC). From the rising generation, which is too young to have been around when my mother took on the Apartheid State, to those who hail from the African Diaspora, we have been reminded of how she touched so many, in ways that are so deeply personal.

In 1991, she was convicted for kidnapping and being an accessory in the assault of a 14-year-old boy and was more generally accused of overseeing violence in black townships.

But her controversial reputation has been largely brushed aside in the wake of her death with tributes to her bravery, independence and integrity dominating public commemorations. "She exposed the lie of apartheid".

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

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