Thousands gather for funeral of Winnie Mandela

Thousands gather for funeral of Winnie Mandela

South Africa's new President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took office two months ago, will lead the mourners at a pre-burial service due to start at 0600 GMT on Saturday at Soweto's 37,000-capacity Orlando stadium.

The other is the grave of Zenani Mandela‚ who died aged 13 in a vehicle accident after the 2010 Soccer World Cup kick-off concert‚ also at Orlando Stadium.

At my mother's 80th birthday in September 2016, I said: 'One day, the story of how you fought back so valiantly against that bad and powerful regime will be told. Some suggested a conspiracy against her. Others insisted the darker side of her story should not be brushed aside.

Tough, determined, resilient and proud, she withstood imprisonment, solitary confinement, banishment and years of harassment by South African apartheid authorities.

Madikizela-Mandela died April 2 at age 81.

Instead she remained embedded in the community where she met Nelson Mandela at a bus stop in 1957. "She represents a fighting spirit because, even though she lived through the apartheid era, she never gave up", said 20-year old college student Gift Mokale.

South Africans turned out in thousands to bid final goodbyes to anti-apartheid icon and Nelson Mandela's former wife Winnie Mandela who was laid to rest with full state honours on Saturday.

In a eulogy read by Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, the family recounted how the media and the government smeared Mandela's name with countless allegations, robbing her the rightful legacy she deserved as a liberation hero.

He said the late Madikizela Mandela stood her ground under torture, arrests and forced to live in one place.

Many South Africans have stood up for her memory against critics who have characterised her as a problematic figure, who was implicated in political violence.

Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been buried in Johannesburg following an emotional five-hour funeral attended by tens of thousands of mourners.

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Following Mandela had been imprisoned, " Madikizela-Mandela embraced her personal direction with steely conclusion at the liberty struggle and also at great personal sacrifice.

"Why have they sat on the truth, and waited until my mother's death to tell it?" she said. "The same one who sold you out", asked Malema.

Her daughter, Mandela-Dlamini, touched on the same theme. "The pain you inflicted on her now lives on in us".

Mourners wore black, green and gold - colors of the ruling African National Congress political party.

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.

"You taught young women across the nation that they are just as capable, if not more capable, of standing shoulder to shoulder with men and being totally unapologetic about it", Mabuza said.

In closing, let me say that when you read popular history about the liberation struggle as it now stands, you can be forgiven for thinking that it was a man's struggle, and a man's triumph.

Nelson Mandela and Madikizela-Mandela, Wednesday in 1958, were separated after news of her marital infidelity emerged following his release from prison in 1991 at the end of a 27-year term.

They were accused of the disappearances and killings of at least 18 boys and young men and in 1991, a court found Winnie guilty of the boy's kidnapping and assault and sentenced her to six years in jail. I say "fight" because the battle for our freedom was not some polite picnic at which you arrived armed with your best behaviour. "They could not silence her".

"Our sister [Winnie Madikizela-Mandela] is proof that we are capable of being revolutionaries".

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