Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
1 minute read
11 Apr 2018
6:30 am

I was too young to woo Winnie, says admirer Cyril

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The president was speaking at a provincial memorial service in Bizana in the Eastern Cape, where he had his audience enthralled.

Artist Lebani Sirenje paints his fourth portrait outside the house of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 10 April 2018. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

President Cyril Ramaphosa had his audience in stitches yesterday while delivering a eulogy about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, describing how enamoured he had always been with her.

Speaking at a provincial memorial service in Bizana in the Eastern Cape, Ramaphosa remarked about the beauty of Madikizela-Mandela, and her female relatives in the rural home.

She always said she wanted to bring me here, she wanted me to see the place where she was born and I agreed. I said I wanted to go where you were from and to see if there are people as beautiful as you are,” he began, to a laughing audience.

I was always telling her each time I met her, I would say ‘Mama you are so beautiful’ and I even said what’s unfortunate is that I was too young at the time. If I was there around the time that Madiba was there, and met you, I would have competed with him.

So, now that I am here, I see that, indeed, that the beauty that Mam’ Winnie always had in her life is duplicated and replicated many times by the many beautiful women that I see here in Bizana.”

But Ramaphosa reminded mourners of Madikizela-Mandela’s anti-patriarchal sentiments, which he urged South Africans to emulate.

Ramaphosa asked that men in the country denounce patriarchal attitudes and behaviour towards women, adding that Madikizela-Mandela was happy with some of the resolutions made at the ANC’s national congress in this regard.

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