THE world has joined hands to pat tribute to South African apartheid icon and mother of the nation Winnie Madikizela-Mandela following her death.
She died in Milpark Hospital on Monday after a long illness.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Africans need to emulate her.
“This evening, I learned that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had left us. The news is saddening, for we have lost a heroine and a liberator. May her courage inspire us to make the most of the liberty she won for us; may her family be comforted by the memory of her heroic life; and may she rest in perpetual peace,” he said.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni also paid tribute to Madikizela-Mandela and commanded her for the contributions she made to the country.
“Very sorry to hear about the death of comrade Winnie Mandela. I salute her contribution to the resistance in South Africa, especially during the time Mzee Mandela was in prison,” said Museveni.
The African Union also followed suit, with chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was shocked to hear of her death.
He described her as a fearless campaigner who sacrificed much of her life for freedom in South Africa.
“She never relented in her struggle or wavered in her commitment, despite imprisonment, banishment, and decades-long seperation from her then husband Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment. Winnie Madikazela-Mandela paved the way for women in the struggle to end apartheid, and fought relentlessly for their rights and welfare in her country,” he said.
International model Naomi Campbell wrote: “I cherish the times I spent with you, embracing me in your family & home. You were Woman of strength that endured so much hardship and sacrifice. Without you we would not know anything about Tata and his 27 years. You will remain in my heart!! R.I.P WINNIE MANDELA.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters has described her as the ‘perfect image of the divine’.
Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi sair Madikizela-Mandela taught the nation ‘to love ourselves‚ our country and continue the struggle for the total emancipation of our people and continent.’
“For denying us Winnie Mandela as the president of the Republic South Africa‚ the liberation movement must bury its head in shame in this painful hour of loss. We bid her farewell as the stone that the builders rejected. Her memory will live long and one day a better society‚ free from the patriarchal hatred that suppressed her rise to be a president‚ will embrace a talented black woman to lead our nation. In her name we vow to accelerate and deepens the fight against patriarchy‚ within our own ranks and in society in general,” he said.
Graça Machel also paitribute to her “big sister”, saying that she is struggling to accept her death.
“As I struggle to accept your transition, I take solace in the fact that you have risen to become one of the brightest stars in the sky where you will remain ever present and radiantly shining,” said Machel.
Madikizela-Mandela will be given a category 1 special official funeral. Its similar to that given to former President and her ex-husband Nelson Mandela.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said it entails elements of military ceremonial honours and is declared for persons of extraordinary credentials specifically designated by the president in line with the Presidency’s state, official and provincial official funeral policy.
“Mam’ Winnie deserves the highest respect our nation can demonstrate in honour of a patriot and citizen who served our nation and humanity at large with distinction during our liberation struggle and throughout our democratic dispensation,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
The official memorial service for Madikizela-Mandela will take place at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto on April 11, and the special official funeral proceedings will be held at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, on April 14.