Winnie Mandela: Soweto send-off for anti-apartheid fighter

Winnie held different positions in the government including and was appointed deputy Prime Minister of arts, culture, science and technology in 1994.

On his part, Geingob said he had come to mourn and celebrate the life of Madikizela-Mandela, who remained rooted in her people. She warned the "hypocrites" who hid the truth and marginalised her mother.

Ramaphosa says that South Africa is burdened by the sorrow of Winnie's death, but the people are also comforted by the richness and profound meaning of her life.

The couple ended the 38 years of marriage in 1996 after which she adopted the surname "Madikizela-Mandela".

Much of the stadium is filled with supporters of the ruling African National Congress party, the former liberation movement that Madikizela-Mandela had a rocky relationship with in recent years.

EFF leader Julius Malema arrives at the Orlando stadium.

President Cyril Ramaphosa apologised that it had taken so long for the ANC to honour Madikizela-Mandela.

"All those who resigned from the NEC of the women's league because they said they can't be led by a criminal they are here playing all important roles at your funeral, can we trust them or should we treat them with suspicion cde Winnie?" However, before that he greeted everyone, including the structures of the ANC, and declared: "President Cyril Ramaphosa was Mama Winnie's president. Our sister is proof that we are capable of being revolutionaries." said Zukiswa.

The elder daughter of anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has passionately defended her mother's legacy against detractors during her official funeral.

"Mam'Winnie's life was one of service".

The funeral closes the final chapter in the history of a woman who was exalted for her fearless defiance of apartheid rule but also implicated in violence and corruption in later life.

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He said they are from a generation that is fortunate to have lived in the time of Madikizela-Mandela. Apartheid authorities sought to denigrate her with bitter and twisted lies, but still she rose.

"Yet, throughout, she endured. Zenani's tears revealed Mam' Winnie's wounds", Ramaphosa said.

In 1991, she was convicted for kidnapping and being an accessory in the assault of a 14-year-old boy. EFF leaders encouraged their members to act with discipline during the funeral.

Madikizela-Mandela was largely remembered for defiantly standing up to the apartheid government and relentlessly pushing the ANC's struggle for freedom. She bore witness to our suffering.

Her body was buried at a privately run graveyard in Johannesburg's upmarket Fourways suburb where two of her great-grand children are also buried. Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will dedicate all our resources, all our efforts, all our energy to the empowerment of the poor and vulnerable.

"She felt compelled to organise, to mobilise, to lead when those who led our people had been sent across the bay to the (Robben) Island, while others were forced to flee beyond our borders or were martyred by a state that knew no mercy". She was one of the people.

"Like women throughout our society do every day, she toiled and never claimed glory".

In old age, Winnie Mandela emerged as a respected elder who was feted as a living reminder of her late husband - and of the long and celebrated struggle against apartheid.

The funeral procession leaves the Orlando Stadium.

Ramaphosa promised on Saturday that he would visit Marikana in North West to honour one of Madikizela-Mandela's wishes. She inspires our actions.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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