South Africans gathered at the Orlando Stadium to finally bid one of their Icon and the ‘mother of their nation’ a final goodbye.
Crowds filled the over 37,000 capacity grounds in Soweto Township, Cape Town.
In attendance at the ceremony were the President of the Republic of Congo, Namibia, Rev. Jesse Jackson and various other global civil rights activists.
Winnie Mandela was honored for various brave acts she showed during South Africa’s dark ages of the apartheid.
Her daughter, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, one of those who eulogized, condemned some of her close acquaintances as ‘sell outs’ who didn’t stand by her when she needed them.
“She made a choice to raise two families, hers and the beloved country,” her daughter Dlamini said.
“She cherished freedom as much as she treasured family. She protected both from constant assault from apartheid state”, she concluded.
Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters leftist populist opposition party also gave his speech denouncing those who turned their backs on Winnie.
He said that betrayers, who denounced her during the struggle and among the tens of thousands, were at the funeral crying out loud
“What is funny, Mama, is that they are crying the loudest, more than all of us who cared for you”.
“We see you in your beautiful suits. Betrayers! Sellouts! We see you”, ended his most captivating speech followed by huge applause.
He requested the ruling party, ANC – African National Congress, to honour her by renaming Cape Town airport after hers, Winnie Mandela Airport.
In one of the recognizable cases of her departure was such as during 1988, her bodyguard kidnapped four boys belonging to another anti-apartheid party.
One of them was murdered few days later.
In May, 1991 Winnie was sentenced to 6 years in prison for keeping the memory of her husband, Nelson Mandela, alive during his 27 years in prison, Robben Island.
She helped in delivering struggle and justice for South Africa.
The couple got divorced in 1996, only two years after Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black President.
They had two daughters together. Nelson Mandela passed away in 2013.
By George Ogallo