As the country comes to terms with the passing of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, plans are underway to ensure that her funeral is dignified and befitting of the heroine that she was.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the late Madikizela-Mandela will be honoured with a Special Official Funeral Category 1.
The Special Official Funeral of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will take place on Saturday, 14 April, at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
A Special Official Funeral Category 1 entails elements of military ceremonial honours and is declared by the President of the Republic of South Africa for persons of extraordinary credentials, in line with the Presidency’s State, Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy.
“Mam’ Winnie deserves the highest respect our nation can demonstrate in honour of a patriot and citizen who served our nation and humanity at large with distinction during our liberation struggle and throughout our democratic dispensation,” President Ramaphosa said.
In line with this declaration, the National Flag is to fly at half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions abroad. This will be observed until the evening of 14 April 2018. The President further declared national days of mourning from 3 April until 14 April 2018.
In terms of the President’s declaration, the official memorial service will be held at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church, Mkhize Street, Soweto, on Wednesday, 11 April 2018.
Madikizela-Mandela took her last breath on 2 April at the age of 81.
“She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully surrounded by her family and loved ones,” said family spokesperson Victor Dlamini.
President Ramaphosa said her passing has created a profound sense of loss and deep sadness.
“Even at the darkest moments of our struggle for liberation, Mam’ Winnie was an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free.”
Winnie Madikizela Mandela: A timeline
1936: Madikizela-Mandela is born in Mbongweni, Transkei, in the Eastern Cape.
1953: She moves to Johannesburg after being admitted at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work.
1958: Madikizela-Mandela marries Nelson Mandela in Bizana in the Eastern Cape.
1959: She gives birth to her first child, Zenani.
1960: Madikizela-Mandela gives birth to her second daughter, Zindziswa.
1962: Madikizela-Mandela is banned by the apartheid government and her movements restricted to the magisterial district of Johannesburg. The order also stipulated that she is not permitted to be quoted in the media. This follows the arrest of her husband during the previous year.
1965: A severe banning order is handed to Madikizela-Mandela, limiting her movements and barring her from moving anywhere other than her neighbourhood of Orlando West.
1969: Madikizela-Mandela’s home is raided. She is arrested and kept in solitary confinement for 17 months. For the first 200 days she has no formal contact with any one, except for her interrogator, Major Theunis Swanepoel, a notorious torturer.
1973: Madikizela-Mandela is arrested again for meeting with another banned person, photographer for Drum magazine Peter Magubane. She is handed a 12-month sentence.
1977: Known as the year of the Brandfort banishment, Madikizela-Mandela is sent to the small town, 400 kilometres away from Johannesburg, for eight years.
1986: She returns to her home at 8115 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West in Soweto. This was also the same year of the formation of the controversial Mandela United Football Club (MUFC).
1990: Madikizela-Mandela is present when Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison.
1992: She becomes President of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL).
1994: She is appointed Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, but is dismissed the following year for allegations of financial mismanagement.
2016: Madikizela-Mandela celebrates her 80th birthday at a gala at Cape Town’s Mount Nelson Hotel with family, friends and colleagues, including President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Additional information sourced from; www.sahistory.org.za