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Ramaphosa apologises to Winnie for not getting Isithwalandwe honour

15 April 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday called on South Africans to honour the memory of the late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela by uniting in a common goal to heal the nation's past divisions and eradicate inequality.Paying tribute to Madikizela-Mandela at a colourful but capacity filled 40,000-seat Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Ramaphosa said the fallen leader wanted South Africans to honour the commitment made in the ruling African National Congress' Freedom Charter document drawn up in 1955 that called on the people to share in the country's wealth and that the land should be shared among those who worked on it.

"Her's is a unique story in history, we have appreciated what she meant for the World but we want to let you know that my mother despite all the lies smeared against her was ready to challenge the lies but time did not allow", she said. "Too often, we were not there for her", he said.

Madikizela-Mandela's coffin left Orlando Stadium accompanied by a military parade for Fourways Memorial Park where she was due to be buried in a private ceremony next to her great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela. "She guides our nation", said Ramaphosa. 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".

Madikizela-Mandela was honoured with a State burial on Saturday that saw world leaders congregate to pay their last respect to the social worker who later became the face of resistance against apartheid.

Ramaphosa says that Winnie's life was dedicated to the African people, and revolved around service to her people.

Ms Madikizela-Mandela's legacy, however, was later tarnished.

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.

Grandson Zondwa Mandela spoke of everyday heroes and said her spirit lives on in women who strive to carve out a livelihood.

Ramaphosa apologises to Winnie for not getting Isithwalandwe honour
Ramaphosa apologises to Winnie for not getting Isithwalandwe honour

The body of Winnie Mandela is returned to her home in Soweto the day before the funeral for the anti-apartheid icon on April 13, 2018 in Soweto, South Africa. "I am here to look at your grandchildren in the eyes and tell them that they will never be treated like they have leprosy as long am still alive".

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

The ANC has launched walls of remembrance to celebrate her life, led by its secretary general, Ace Magashule and the artistic painting will be done all around the country. When we lost our loved ones, when people were in pain, overcome with anger, prone to violence, she came to touch our wounds.

During Nelson Mandela's 27-year incarceration for his fight against apartheid, Ms Madikizela-Mandela campaigned for his release and for the rights of black South Africans undergoing detention, banishment and arrest. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said her death unified people across political divide and beyond the country's borders. Yet, through everything, she endured. "The same one who sold you out", asked Malema.

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

Malema, who sat with Madikizela-Mandela's family and other dignitaries, responded to Ramaphosa with a smile.

The funeral procession leaves the Orlando Stadium.

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Ramaphosa apologises to Winnie for not getting Isithwalandwe honour