Zenani Mandela takes Winnie detractors to task

Zenani Mandela takes Winnie detractors to task

Often called the "Mother of the Nation" and "Mama Winnie", Madikizela-Mandela fought to keep South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle in the worldwide spotlight while her husband, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned.

The official funeral service for the ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela was taking place on Saturday morning in Soweto, a Johannesburg township at the forefront of the battle against apartheid where she lived.

When Mandela left prison in 1990, she stood next to him, one hand clasped in his as they raised their free hands clenched in fists - a moment memorialized in a photo that became a symbol of his freedom.

She further implored Madikizela-Mandela's supporters not to be tempted to discount her father‚ Nelson Mandela‚ and that people should accept that they complimented each other.

Thousands of mourners have packed a 40,000-seat stadium to bid farewell to the powerful figure who will be buried as a national hero, after lively debate over how she should be remembered. Mandela accused her of infidelity, and they divorced in 1996, two years after he was elected the first black president of South Africa.

In his eulogy, Ramaphosa also announced that as ANC president he will propose to the ANC National Executive Committee to bestow the ANC's highest honour on Madikizela-Mandela posthumously. In 1977, she was banished to a remote town.

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"She never stopped fighting".

It took a toll. "Bua!" Mandela-Dlamini questioned why some who had known the truth about her mother waited until her death to speak. The boys had been accused of the disappearances and killings of at the least 18 boys and younger males and the chief was convicted of killing a 14-year-old, nicknamed "Stompie", accused of being a police informer.

Those who notice such things would have realized that her 2013 book, 491 Days-which tells the story of the brutality she experienced at the hands of the Apartheid state, the depths of her despair and her extraordinary resilience and defiance under extreme pressure-was already an invitation for a deep re-evaluation of her life.

Winnie would later be reprieved after a court overturned her theft conviction but gave her a suspended sentence of three years and six months for fraud.

After Mandela was imprisoned, Madikizela-Mandela embraced her personal management within the freedom wrestle with steely willpower and at nice private sacrifice. The following year, she was appointed deputy Prime Minister of arts, culture, science and technology in Mandela's unity government but she was later fired after allegations of corruption emerged. "She bandaged our wounds... we did not do the same for her", Ramaphosa said. "This is our heroine".

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