High profile leaders pay homage at Madikizela-Mandela’s Soweto home


JOHANNESBURG, April 4 – The home of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Orlando, Soweto is a hive of activity as scores of leaders and high profile individuals drop in to pay homage to the revered anti-apartheid struggle icon.

Among those who arrived Wednesday was Deputy President David Mabuza, former president Jacob Zuma, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sidumo Dlamini, South African Council of Churches (SACC) general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Rhema Bible Church leader and founder Ray McCauley and the African National Congress caucus, led by party chief whip Jackson Mthembu.

Tuesday saw Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema arriving in Orlando and addressing the crowd. His visit was followed by that of ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini, who was accompanied by scores of women wearing their ANCWL green and black uniforms.

A huge media contingent had camped outside the home since news of Madikizela-Mandela’s death broke on Monday.

ANC supporters draped in party colors continued to sing revolutionary songs outside the home as the leaders arrived throughout the day. Banners depicting ANC logos and slogans were hung on the wall surrounding the house. Men and women from all walks of life brought flowers which they placed next to the gate manned by ANC security personnel.

The anti-apartheid activist and former wife of the late Nelson Mandela died at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Monday.

Madikizela-Mandela died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of the hospital since the beginning of the year.

Affectionately known as ‘Mother of the Nation’, Madikizela-Mandela was lauded for holding the fort in the fight against apartheid when the apartheid regime arrested activists, including her former husband. She was hounded by state security police and subjected to imprisonment, torture, house arrests, and endless banning orders.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is on Wednesday expected to map out details of memorial services across the country and funeral arrangements after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state funeral for Madikizela-Mandela.

The Gauteng memorial service will be held at the iconic Regina Mundi Church, the largest Roman Catholic church in South Africa, on April 11. The funeral service will then be held at Orlando Stadium on April 14.

Her body will be laid to rest in Fourways, north of Johannesburg where her great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela was buried in 2010. Zenani was the granddaughter of the Mandela’s second child, Zinzi.

Zenani, 13, died in a car accident after attending the 2010 World Cup kick-off concert at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium.

– African News Agency (ANA)