The atmosphere was electric as the funeral procession entered the main arena at Orlando Stadium. Thousands of attendees chanted Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s name as her coffin was wheeled towards the stage, while others broke out in various songs.
While the colours black, green and yellow dominated most of the stadium, there were at least 2 000 EFF members dressed in red also in attendance.
As the programme began, the mood became solemn as the national anthem, followed by the first hymn from the Methodist Church, set the tone.
Meanwhile people were still streaming in to fill up the less than quarter of the stadium seats that were still empty. The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra gave a rousing performance after devotions were led by Bishop Gary Rivas and Reverend Vukile Mehana.
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thando Modise introduced several heads of state.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura slammed Madikizela-Mandela’s critics and remarked that many documentaries and movies about her life would be expected.
Earlier in the morning the EFF held a massive march outside the stadium, giving their own funeral tribute before the main ceremony began.