NEWS
11/04/2018 11:01 SAST | Updated 11/04/2018 15:03 SAST

Winnie Mandela Memorial: The Embodiment Of Our Struggle

"We are from Orlando West High, and Tata and Mama stayed in Orlando West. We spent her last two birthdays with her at school, she came and visited us... she was our mama."

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14:00 PM

South Africa's deputy president David Mabuza gave a touching speech himself when he said, "when she passed on we heard the skies weeping".

Mabuza described Mama Winnie as the embodiment of our struggle. "In life you reminded our daughters and mothers that it is them who are powerful beyond measure", he added.

Though gone from the human eye, the black fortress of human dignity cannot be erased from the grieving heart of Africa.David Mabuza

ANC member Jessie Duarte got on the podium and spoke of how great Mama Winnie was and said, "she gave her life to the struggle and until her last days her wish was for the unity of the ANC".

13:00 PM

Mzwakhe Mbuli gave a touching performance as he moved the crowd with his monologue tribute to Mama Winnie. The stadium is steadily filling up as the afternoon goes by.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party also spoke at the podium saying, "a very big tree has fallen". The crowd reacted positively to a speech by Zodwa Zwane who said, "fellow South Africans, we have lost a mother, thank you for the love you showed her".

She also went on to say, "Julius Malema, I understand you when you said Mama' Winnie was the brick that was rejected by the builder".

12:00 PM

Tributes poured in and tears were shed at Winnie Mdikizela-Mandela official memorial, as luminaries of the SA politics and supporters of Mam' Winnie came together at the Orlando Stadium.

With the stadium already half full and mourners still streaming in, a crescendo of emotion reigned throughout the stadium as grieving South Africans hailed the legacy of Madikizela-Mandela. Zweli Mkhize, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Jeff Hadebe and Floyd Shivambu were among the high-profile politicians in attendance.

HuffPost managed to speak to a frail-looking George Bizos in the elevator, and the beloved struggle lawyer described Mama Winnie as a woman who was "strong and highly intelligent".

The EFF held its memorial service in Mam' Winnie's honour at the Majwemasweu stadium in Deeplevel, Brandfort on Wednesday morning.

EFF

EFF

The EFF held its memorial service in Mam' Winnie's honour at the Majwemasweu stadium in Deeplevel, Brandfort on Wednesday morning.

At the Soweto memorial, Winnie's great-grandchildren also had a chance to speak, and poured their hearts into their tributes, delighting the assembled mourners and viewers watching the televised footage.

11:00 AM

As thousands of people made their way from all over the country to commemorate, mourn and celebrate the life of South Africa's fallen heroine, a Soweto school teacher took the liberty of taking her matric class to celebrate the life of the struggle icon.

Rose Zingitwa, a teacher at Orlando West High, explained why it was important for her to bring the learners to this service:

Mama is in our hearts because she knew us very well -- she was our mamaRose Zingitwa

"We are from Orlando West High, and Tata and Mama stayed in Orlando West. We spent her last two birthdays with her at school, she came and visited us... she was our mama."

Zingitwa explained that Orlando West High was one of the beneficiaries of Mandela's will and that the school would always have a place in their hearts for Mama Winnie.

"We are here to celebrate the life of Mama Winnie Mandela as she was a woman empowerer"Ntokozo Duma, Orlando West High student

"Mama is in our hearts because she knew us very well -- she was our mama."

Nolwazi Duma, who was one of the students from Orlando West High said: "We are here to celebrate the life of Mama Winnie Mandela as she was a woman empowerer." Duma went on to say that they (matric students) had come with their teacher as Winnie had a longstanding relationship with the school and it was important for the learners to attend the service.

Canny Maphanga

10:00 AM

Thousands of ANC supporters and advocates of the Mother of the Nation, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, have made their way from all over the country to commemorate, mourn and celebrate the life of South Africa's fallen heroine.

The overcast weather did not deter people from coming to give their last respects to Mama Winnie, as supporters dressed in ANC colours, a sea of red-clad EFF supporters and women dressed in traditional attire slowly made their way to the official memorial service.

The service for the struggle icon was scheduled to take place at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, during the ANC's 10 days of mourning for Mama Winnie.

There was a heavy police and security presence at the venue early in the day, as well as ANC pop-up stores selling ANC attire. Supporters started to make their way to the stadium at around 9am, with the main delegates scheduled to arrive at 11am.

"RIP Winnie" T-shirts were on sale for R100 at the pop-up stores and flowers were priced at between R80 and R100.