Parents gather to pay their respects to the Mother of the Nation

“My son was a MK soldier. He knew her. Even now he has a picture of Winnie and Nkosazana in his room.”

Minkie Modisane, a 62-year-old resident of Meadowlands in Soweto, is the mother of Sidwell Puki Modisane, a former uMkhonto we Sizwe soldier who was buried two weeks ago.

Modisane is part of a small group of mourners who have gathered outside the home of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. She has been outside the home since 5am this morning.

Pointing towards the MKMVA soldiers singing o sana lwami we mama – a song that was sang when mothers lost their children during apartheid – Modisane talks of her son’s funeral.

“They told us that he led the way for Winnie. Ke so ka baka la ngwanaka (I’m here because of my son), he loved this woman”.

Modisane says she still can’t explain Sidwell’s death. He committed suicide after he shot himself in the head. She found out when his friends from the military came to tell her that they had found his body.

“When he left to join the MK … I was scared. They told me that I must know that I must expect anything. He could come back or not come back. I put my faith in Jesus that he would come back and he came back.”

Modisane said of Madikizela-Mandela: “She helped the children a lot during those times. Winnie fights for us, she fought for us, went to jail for us. We are who we are because of Winnie.”

Jerry Maleshane from Malberton was also there because of his children. Standing by the side of the house with his three little girls, still dressed in their pajamas, he said he thought it was important to bring them here because they “have to recognise that these are the people that fought for us and we are still fighting … I am doing the little that I can do to conscientise them”.

“This is a historical moment, for them as little ones. They don’t understand, but this morning I woke them because at some point I want them to recall this moment, that “Dad took us there, we have memories and we have photo.” he said.


Officials who have also come to pay respects at the Mandela home today include the wife of Former President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, Cooperative governance Minister Zweli Mkhize and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.

“The most important thing is that during these periods we must be strong, firm and appreciate the fact that this is the easier part. After the funeral the family is going to be more lonely. That’s where the actual vacancy is going to be visible,” said Mantashe.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Tebogo Tshwane
Tebogo Tshwane

Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust financial journalism trainee at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a general news intern at Eyewitness News and a current affairs show presenter at the Voice of Wits FM. Tshwane is passionate about socioeconomic issues and understanding how macroeconomic activities affect ordinary people. She holds a journalism honours degree from Wits University. 

Advertising

‘Tenderpreneurs’ block the delivery of protective equipment to schools

Protests by local suppliers have delayed PPE delivery, which according to the DBE, is one of the reasons the reopening of schools has been pushed back until June 8

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing
Advertising

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday