Various organisations, including the Democratic Alliance (DA), the ANC and representatives of the Black Consciousness Movement, gave messages of support and sent their condolences to the family of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the EFF memorial service for the anti-apartheid heroine which is being held at Brandfort, Free State, where she had been banished by the apartheid government.
Welcoming speakers from the different organisations, EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu said the memorial service had been a multiparty gathering as a sign that Madikizela-Mandela is bigger than any political organisation and the country.
Sharing a memory of the Mother of the Nation, Mpofu said she had decided to end her banishment in Brandfort without an official decree from the then apartheid government.
Mpofu said Madikizela-Mandela gave 60 years of her life struggling for the liberation of the country.
He said in the mid-1980s she had shown courage by shouting “Viva ANC, viva,” at funerals with a heavy state police presence while many feared doing so would land them in jail.
Sharing the message of condolence on behalf of the DA was Patricia Kopano who said Madikizela-Mandela’s beauty is timeless and that she had been an elegant woman.
“To the women of South Africa, let’s celebrate mama Winnie,” Kopano said, because she had fought for the rights and dignity of women.
She said the struggle heroine was inspiring and was a fearless woman whose influence crossed colour lines.
“If it had not been for Mama Winnie I wouldn’t have been a leader of the Democratic Alliance […] I’m standing on her shoulders,” Kopano said.
A representative of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) said Madikizela-Mandela is not an idol but a revolutionary who fought, hence he said he understands why the EFF seeks to emulate Madikizela-Mandela, because the party sought to learn from the best.
The BCM leader said no political party had brought on a fight in parliament until the introduction of the EFF to the institution.
Representing the ANC, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele said the decrepit condition of the house Madikizela-Mandela lived in during her banishment is saddening.
There are plans to renovate the house into a museum but those are yet to materialise.
Cwele said the ANC had sought answers about the progress of the plans and had learnt that there had been issues with the service provider and that at the time of Madikizela-Mandela’s passing a new contractor had been appointed.
He called for the house to be preserved for the sake of promoting tourism in the town as well as keeping Madikizela-Mandela’s memory alive.