Tears and song as SA bids a final farewell to Mama Winnie

South Africa Lay Winnie Mandela To Rest

South Africa Lay Winnie Mandela To Rest

President Cyril Ramaphosa has apologised to Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for her not having been awarded the Isithwalandwe honour.

"I'm sorry Mama that your organisation (ANC) delayed in according you its honour".

"Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will not betray the trust of her people, we will not squander or steal their resources, and that we will serve them diligently and selflessly", the president said.

As activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's casket was escorted from her funeral on Saturday thousands of people cheered, sang and cried. "Zenani's tears revealed Mam' Winnie's wounds", Ramaphosa said. Speaking on Madikizela-Mandela's sustained activism while many ANC members were in prison or in exile, he said, "She felt compelled to pick up a spear that had fallen". She was one of the country's greatest icons in the struggle against apartheid.

The film was aired on local television channels and in public screenings in part as a response to the unflattering coverage Madikizela-Mandela's legacy received in the immediate aftermath of her death.

In 1991, she was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault, but her six-year jail sentence was reduced to a fine and a two-year suspended sentence on appeal.

"She confronted gun-carrying white men who were sworn killers of the apartheid defence force throughout the long years of the state of emergency in the 1980s".

"She never stopped fighting".

Her daughters Zenani Mandela-Dlamini and Zindzi Mandela each put a bouquet of white flowers on the coffin after it was lowered.

The family of the late Winnie Mandela has accused the South African government of being hypocritical for praising her after death.

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In a moving, yet fiery eulogy, her daughter slammed her mother's critics.

Heads of state joined the five-hour celebration of the figure who will soon soon be buried as a hero following debate over how she must be remembered at age eighty one.

"In apartheid South Africa, the combination of patriarchy and racism together meant that black women confronted enormous obstacles from the cradle to the grave - making her own achievements all the more exceptional", he said on Friday at a memorial in NY, not mentioning Nelson Mandela at all.

She saw for herself the deliberate intent of the apartheid rulers to impoverish the people of this country. "She exposed the lie of apartheid".

The documentary, however, lacks balance because its ultimate aim is to clear Madikizela-Mandela's name.

Winnie Mandela is celebrated for holding together Nelson Mandela's shared dream for an anti-apartheid South Africa. He continued, "Yet through everything Mama Winnie endured they could not break her, they could not silence her".

Though she fought fiercely for democracy, Madikizela-Mandela floundered in a political career after the first free elections in 1994.

Isithwalandwe, which literally means "the one who wears the plumes of the rare bird" was traditionally bestowed only on the bravest warriors and those who distinguished themselves in the eyes of all the people for exceptional qualities of leadership and heroism. She chose as her vocation the alleviation of the suffering of others.

As soon as speeches drew to a close, stormy clouds formed over the stadium, followed moments after by heavy rains that drenched mourners and the funeral procession as it drove out to a cemetery 40 kilometres away.

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