It was the relationship that she had with young people that earned her the title of “the mother of the nation”
President Cyril Ramaphosa remembers struggle stalwart Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as someone who was always on the side of young people, a symbol of hope and of emancipation of women.
The President delivered the eulogy at the Memorial Service of the Mother of the Nation held at Bizana in the Eastern Cape.
He said it was the relationship that she had with young people that earned her the title of “the mother of the nation”.
“Mama Winnie will always have a special place in our hearts,” said the President.
He said she was on the frontline with youth who fought against the apartheid government in the 70’s and inspired them to continue the fight for liberation, and that she continued to work with the young people in the 80’s to fight against the murderous apartheid system.
The President said Madikizela-Mandela continued the fight even in the1990s and continued to inspire the militancy of the African National Congress (ANC) youth league even after 1994 to remind the ANC that the fight was not yet over.
“She endured a lot of pain, struggle, humiliation and suffering from the apartheid regime. The apartheid regime sought to destroy her spirit by torturing her and her family, but her spirit was never broken. She never gave up, she never betrayed the struggle, and she never sold out…” the President said.
He said Madikizela-Mandela refused to succumb to the inner voice that always tells one to give up. “She never rested for one single moment because she was a mother of the nation… She was determined to die with her boots on. She was also a symbol of women’s emancipation,” he said.
The President called on government leaders and South Africans to take from her spirit to be men and women of courage.
“We should serve the interest of our people,” he said.
Whilst the country mourns the passing of Madikizela-Mandela, President Ramaphosa said South Africans must also celebrate her life which was dedicated to improving their lives.
He said she hated corruption, especially state corruption. He also said she was happy that government was starting to make progress in bringing back the land to its rightful owners.
President Ramaphosa has declared a Special Official Funeral Category 1 in line with Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy for Madikizela-Mandela.
Deputy President David Mabuza and Leader of Government Business has also briefed leaders of political parties represented in Parliament for an update on the state of readiness for the Memorial and Funeral services of the Madikizela-Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The Presidency said her funeral will have elements of both military and ceremonial honours.
Government has established an Inter-Ministerial Committee led by the Minister in The Presidency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to oversee all the necessary logistical arrangements for both the Memorial and Funeral services of Madikizela-Mandela.
The IMC comprises of all relevant stakeholders including the bereaved family of Madikizela-Mandela.
Deputy President Mabuza thanked leaders of political parties for their unwavering support and commitment to honour Madikizela-Mandela and the conduct of various members of the public displayed at various memorial events taking place throughout the country.
Minister Dlamini Zuma reported that government has since declared days of mourning from 03 April 2018 leading up to the funeral on Saturday, 14 April 2018.
She will be laid to rest at the Fourways Memorial Park Cemetery near Johannesburg.
Deputy President Mabuza will deliver the official address at the Official Memorial Service on Wednesday at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto while President Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at the official funeral.
Deputy President Mabuza has extended an invitation to all the leaders of the political parties to join hands in ensuring a pleasant and befitting send off for Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.