Women get their special Mama Winnie memorial service day

Thursday was a day for the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) to finally have its own dedicated memorial service for the late anti-apartheid icon, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. 

She is the ANC Women’s League’s former president who was elected to the position in 1993. Thursday was more befitting for women because it is a day for women’s prayers from different churches across the country and Mama Winnie belonged to the Methodist Church’s Women’s Manyano. 

The memorial service was also held at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church that was known for being a safe haven for anti-apartheid activists during white minority rule.

As part of honouring Mama Winnie, the ANC Women’s League also held a blousing ceremony at the same event for young women who officially joined the league as new members. 

ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, addressed the memorial service and said the ANC has done a “disservice” to Madikizela-Mandela by not recognising her role in the liberation movement sooner.

"We have done a disservice to comrade Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. We did not want to recognise her and her contribution in the history of the struggle of black people in South Africa. That's the mistake we have committed. It was not committed by anybody, we are not blaming anybody, we must blame the organisation, because today we are talking about her, and saying all nice things," he said. 
Magashule’s statement was influenced by a documentary titled Winnie, which was aired for the first time on eNCA on Wednesday night. It showed the truth about the tough times that Mama Winnie went through over the years her former husband, Nelson Mandela was in prison. Mama Winnie kept the fire of the struggle burning, therefore keeping the ANC alive, even when it was banned and mainly exiled. 
At a government’s main memorial service on Wednesday at Orlando Stadium, ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte, said Madikizela-Mandela never betrayed the struggle and the revolution and for that she must be honoured. 

“Winnie inspired a whole generation of younger women. There is no looking back; there is only looking forward for the women of SA. With our doeks we will liberate all the women of this country,” Duarte said. 

The Deputy Secretary General said one of the best ways to honour Mama Winnie was to return the land to the people. 
"Radical economic transformation is here to stay. All people of South Africa – black and white – need to work together,” she said. 

ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, Tony Yengeni, said the ANC must honour Madikizela-Mandela by ensuring that resolutions on free education and radical transformation are implemented.
“Comrades it’s not nice to mourn comrade Winnie through speeches [only], her spirit must drive us to implement free education and see the nationalisation of the reserve bank. This radical economic transformation must mean that those companies that steal from our people must be taken to prison. A white man steals billions but they are not taken to jail,” Yengeni said. 
Madikizela-Mandela passed away on Monday 2 April and will be laid to rest on Saturday 14 April in Johannesburg.  Members of the public are allowed to attend the funeral, which has been declared a Special Official Funeral Category 1.