- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s memorial service was a celebration, not a mourning
- Thousands of South Africans descended on the Orlando Stadium in Soweto to pay their respects to the fallen struggle icon
- The event was marked by song, dance and performances by various artists
Thousands of South Africa from across the entire country descended on the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Wednesday to pay their respects to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The official memorial service was far from a sombre affair, with people instead celebrating Mama Winnie’s life.
The event was marked by song, dance and featured performances by various artists. As the crowd grew throughout the day the echo emanating from Orlando Stadium steadily grew louder and could be heard outside the stadium.
The first performances were by afro-soul singer Brenda Mtambo and the Grammy award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir, which kept the crowd on their feet.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the memorial service was attended by several government ministers who swapped their business suits for ANC regalia. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was also in attendance.
Deputy president David Mabuza addressed the crowd and paid tribute to Madikizela-Mandela. He said she was a selfless comrade of the liberation struggle. "It takes someone special to sacrifice their lives the way you have done... we salute you," Mabuza said.
Family members and close friends also took the stage to pay their respects to Madikizela-Mandela, heartfelt tributes came from those closest to her.
Madikizela-Mandela’s personal assistant, Zodwa Zwane, delivered an emotional speech in which she said the fallen icon would be missed by her children.
Marquees outside of the stadium sold various ANC branded regalia, the most popular of which was the doek, which has become a symbol representing Madikizela-Mandela since her passing last Monday.
Ordinary people in the crowd echoed sentiments shared by those on stage and said Madikizela-Mandela had played an invaluable role in creating a better South Africa.
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