Mourners out in their numbers to celebrate Winnie’s life
EVEN in death, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela brought people together.
Members of the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) carried ANC flags depicting the party’s past and present presidents, marched in front of the coffin.
Clenched fists were raised throughout, saluting the beloved “Mother of the Nation” as she was known.
For three hours, people waited patiently for a glimpse of the Struggle stalwart’s hearse to pass by en route to her Orlando, Soweto, home yesterday.
“We would have waited longer if we had to. Do you understand the woman Mama was? She is worth the wait,” said Grace Masemola, 62, who was part of the community’s guard of honour.
Even before Madikizela-Mandela’s coffin left the Kupane funeral parlour‚ people were singing Struggle songs and waving ANC and EFF flags.
Hundreds of people lined the streets as her funeral cortege made its way home from the funeral parlour.
“It had been far too long since unity engulfed a township as it did today. Neighbours once again became neighbours as we came out of our houses, sat together with our children in the street. You don’t see that anymore,” another resident said.
The scorching sun could not discourage those in attendance.
Motorbikes that formed part of the procession revved their engines and the community burst into louder song.
They ululated, raised their fists in the air. repeating the Struggle phrase, “Amandla! Viva Mama Winnie Viva!” as the hearse got closer.
Umkhonto we Sizwe vet- erans led the procession to Madikizela- Mandela’s home. She was welcomed home by ululating women wearing doeks.
Men from both the Mandela and Madikizela families, including her grandsons, carried the coffin towards the yard.
Dignitaries including ambassadors, ministers and political party leaders had arrived earlier at the house.
Graca Machel, the widow of former South African states- man Nelson Mandela, also arrived after lunchtime.
As culture dictates, Madikizela- Mandela’s body spent the night at her Soweto home and will today be buried at Fourways Memorial Park close to her great-granddaughters, Zenani Zanethemba Nomasonto Mandela and baby Zenawe Mandela burial sites, on the family’s plot at the memorial park. – additional reporting African News Agency (ANA)
A police officer carries a boy holding flowers outside the house of Madikizela-Mandela in Orlando West, Soweto, yesterday.
The cavalcade near Madikizela-Mandela’s home.
Mourners sing Struggle songs as they wait along the streets of Orlando East to view Mama Winnie’s coffin in Soweto.