Winnie Mandela laid to rest in state funeral

Culture shock for Brazilian photographer attending Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's memorial

Tens of thousands of mourners burst into loud cheers as the casket carrying her remains was wheeled into the stadium, less than two kilometres from her home.

South Africans gathered Saturday to bid farewell to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an anti-apartheid icon hailed as the mother of a nation and a political force. Madikizela-Mandela died on April 2 at the age of 81. The debates, and complexities of the struggle icon are set to continue.

Madikizela Mandela's daughter Zenani, broke down on the podium while paying her last respects to her mother.

"It is hard to accept that she is no longer with us", cried her daughter Zenani Dlamini, "because she was always so strong".

"Why have they sat on the truth and waited until my mother's death to tell it?" The crowd, which included former presidents Jacob Zuma, Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki, roared in approval.

It was in the year 1964, when former South African President Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and his wife Winnie campaigned tirelessly for his release.

For many South Africans, the most memorable-image of Madikizela-Mandela is her punching the air in a clenched-fist-salute as she walked hand-in-hand with Mandela out of Victor Verster prison, near Cape Town, on February 11, 1990.

She said Madikizela Mandela suffered at the brutality of the Apartheid government and humiliation.

During his fiery address, Malema questioned several aspects of the ANC government.

She was the ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president. "What must we tell them", Malema asked, saying they were promised a quiet visit.

She said the media was "complicit in smearing my mother". "Don't think for a minute that we've forgotten", she said.

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"You wanted us to come back to the ANC - to which ANC?" "We mention these instances just to make them aware, we know what they did to you", he said, claiming her detractors were weeping while failing to acknowledge their actions.

She added that "praising her now that she is gone shows what hypocrites you are".

Ramaphosa said he would propose to the ANC's national executive committee that Madikizela-Mandela be given the ANC's highest honour of Isitwalandwe/Seaparankwe, which is given to those who have made an outstanding contribution and sacrifice to the liberation struggle. The EFF leader brought the entire stadium (and internet) to a standstill as he delivered his tribute to Mama Winnie. "Too often we were not there for her as she tried to rise", he said.

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

"Mama, the widows of Marikana are still in tears".

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Soweto on Friday to see the funeral procession of Winnie Mandela ahead of her final send-off this weekend. "It was a spear that throughout the darkest moments of our struggle she wielded with great courage".

"Proud, defiant, articulate, she subjected the lie of apartheid, " President Cyril Ramaphosa said during his ignorance". "You deserve to be awarded the Speararankoe", he said.

Madikizela-Mandela was later jailed in 1969 for months and placed under house arrest for years over her activism against the apartheid regime.

They were accused of the disappearances and killings of at least 18 boys and young men and the group's leader was convicted of killing a 14-year-old boy, nicknamed "Stompie", who was accused of being a police informer. Madikizela-Mandela denied knowledge of nearly any killings. For those who have not had the time or the courage to go beyond the quick headlines or the rushed profiles, I urge you to search the archives so that you may fully appreciate who my mother really was, and why her life and story matters so much. The same people who sold you out? She kept his name on the lips of the people. "She was just a woman who dared to survive".

After family rituals in the morning Madikizela Mandela's body was taken to the stadium draped in the national flag.

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