South African Government to Hold National Funeral in Honor of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in December 2012
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in December 2012
Photo: Themba Hadebe (AP Images)

The South African government has formally announced plans to honor Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, one of the country’s most prominent anti-apartheid icons, with an official state funeral.

Madikizela-Mandela will be laid to rest during a national funeral on April 14, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed, with a national memorial service to be held three days prior, ABC News reports.

“There will be many other memorial functions across the country‚ in almost every province,” Ramaphosa said, speaking outside Madikizela-Mandela’s home. “We would like to express our gratitude and our thanks to many across the country and the world who are wishing us well‚ who are wishing her movement well.”


In a statement, Ramaphosa lauded the departed leader as a voice for the voiceless, the report notes.

“In the coming days, as we mourn the passing of this heroine of our struggle, let us reflect on her rich, remarkable and meaningful life,” the statement read. “Let us draw inspiration from the struggles that she fought and the dream of a better society to which she dedicated her life.”

Madikizela-Mandela died in Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Monday at the age of 81, surrounded by her family and loved ones.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

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RIP Madikizela Mandela/Mama Africa....Amandla!!

Of course the ANC gov’t had to give Winnie an official state funeral or the black masses would have revolted! For christsake, the ANC offered the face of apartheid - Pieter Botha, a state funeral on his death in the spirit of “reconciliation”, but his family turned it down. Still, President Thabo Mbeki went ahead and announced the country’s flags would be flown at half staff to honor Botha (black madness!!). The thing is, Winnie Mandela’s voice was fierce & prophetic and her legacy will only grow with time.

Winnie on her imprisonment: “The years of imprisonment hardened me.. I no longer have the emotion of fear. There is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known.”

Winnie on her personality & acclaim: “I am the product of the masses of my country. I am the product of my enemy.”