Mourners bid Ma Winnie farewell

Rainbow Academy Choir performed at the memorial service.

Mourners filled St George’s Cathedral for the memorial service of anti-apartheid icon, Ma Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Thursday April 5.

The service was attended by young and old from all over Cape Town who shared how Ma Winnie had touched their lives.

The Rainbow Academy Choir welcomed everyone with beautiful hymns and anti-apartheid struggle songs while some of those in attendance laid flowers to pay their respects to the struggle stalwart.

Among the key speakers was former finance minister Trevor Manuel, Western Cape Cosatu secretary Tony Ehrenreich, former ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and the deputy speaker of parliament, Lechesa Tsenoli. “You were the leader when leaders were in exile, a light in the darkest days of apartheid and you taught us to be brave,” said Mr Ehrenreich.

A young student activist, Lusapho Hlatshaneni, spoke for the youth and described Ma Winnie as “Lit”.

“Tata wouldn’t have been as great as he was had it not been for Ma Winnie, she was lit, there was a fire in her spirit,” said Ms Hlatshaneni who was among the students arrested during the Fees Must Fall movement in 2016. Young local artists sang their hearts out, crying “Lihambile Iqhawe, sohlala sikuthanda (The hero is gone, we’ll always love you)”.

Ms Mentor touched on the interview that Ma Winnie did 20 years ago on land expropriation and said Ma Winnie was a futurist.

“She said land must expropriated and redistributed. But this doesn’t mean that whites should be driven into the sea. She was later hung out to dry by her colleagues,” said Ms Mentor. Mr Kodwa, who was the last to speak, lambasted those who had run negative stories about Ma Winnie and said they were hiding the fact that they did not want to talk about the brutality of apartheid that she faced.