/ 4 April 2018

Mam’ Winnie will rest in peace with her great-granddaughter

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be buried at the same cemetery as her great-granddaughter, Zenani Zanethemba Nomasonto Mandela.

Close relatives have told News24 that her family’s wishes were that she be buried at the Fourways Memorial Park, north of Sandton. This is where Zenani was buried in 2010.

Zenani was 13 when she was killed in a car accident in the early hours of June 11, 2010, after attending the FIFA World Cup kick-off concert at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

She was the grandchild of Madikizela-Mandela’s oldest daughter, Zindzi.

At the time, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said Madikizela-Mandela was so devastated upon hearing the news that she was briefly taken to hospital and treated for shock.

Madikizela-Mandela was exceptionally close to Zenani’s mother Zoleka, who earlier shared photos of their last moments together, attending a Good Friday church service.

Qunu burial rumour

Madikizela-Mandela died on Monday afternoon at the age of 81 after a prolonged illness.

A government official told News24 that there were concerns that her wish was to be buried at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto. The liberation stalwart has lived in the world-famous township for most of her adult life, except when she was banished to rural Brandfort in the Free State by the apartheid regime. She always proclaimed that she wanted to be among “her people”.

On Tuesday, Themba Matanzima, speaking on behalf of the family, confirmed that the funeral would be held in Johannesburg to quell reports that the abaThembu clan wanted Madikizela-Mandela buried in Qunu, the birthplace of her former husband, former president Nelson Mandela.

Madikizela-Mandela was married to Mandela for 38 years.

The SABC reported that the abaThembu clan had said it was ready to bury Madikizela-Mandela in Qunu. The public broadcaster quoted Prince Sganeko Dalindyebo as saying: “We feel that, as the kingdom, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela should be brought back home to Qunu, where she can rest in peace.

“This home is supposed to play a leading role in the preparations and in the mourning of one of our own, particularly of the stature of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.”

Category 1 special official funeral

The final decision on her burial site had been left to her daughters, the government official said.

On Tuesday, the family and government officials led by Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane were locked in meetings at her home in Soweto to arrange the official funeral, planned for April 14.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that the woman affectionately known as the Mother of the Nation would be given a category 1 special official funeral. 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.

The Presidency announced that an official memorial service for Madikizela-Mandela would take place at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto on April 11, and the special official funeral proceedings would be held at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, on April 14.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe announced that the ANC would observe a day of mourning on April 9. — News24